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“I’m throw­ing it pretty well,” Man­ning told re­porters Wed­nes­day at a news con­fer­ence in In­di­anapo­lis an­nounc­ing his de­par­ture from the Colts. “I still got some work to do. I got some progress to make, but I’ve come a long way.”

The third-ranked quar­ter­back on the all-time list of touch­down passes and pass­ing yards is avail­able for any team to sign. But there’s a sig­nif­i­cant catch, as he missed the en­tire 2011 sea­son and his health sta­tus re­mains un­clear.

Man­ning, who turns 36 this month, has spent the win­ter try­ing to strengthen his throw­ing arm by par­tic­i­pat­ing in a pass­ing and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram in North Carolina and in South Florida. His suc­cess in that on­go­ing process will shape the fi­nal years of his sto­ried ca­reer.

“Ev­ery­body knows Pey­ton Man­ning is, if not the best quar­ter­back to ever play the game, he’s tied for it,” Red­skins of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Kyle Shana­han said in Jan­uary on ESPN980 ra­dio. “The ques­tion on Pey­ton is his health.

“You have a guy like that who is so driven, so pas­sion­ate about foot­ball and truly en­joys it and the way he plays. I know he’s up there in age, but if he’s healthy, age is not an is­sue. You just hope his neck is all right, and then he’ll be Pey­ton Man­ning.”

Man­ning never missed a game in 13 sea­sons prior to 2011. His abil­ity to read de­fenses, his tim­ing and his ac­cu­racy helped him win four league MVP awards and a Su­per Bowl cham­pi­onship.

Whether he can re­cap­ture that form re­mains un­cer­tain. He was asked Wed­nes­day whether he feels like his old self.

“I’m feel­ing closer and closer,” Man­ning said. “I have to re­mind my­self that it is March. I have a hard time do­ing that at times. Like I said, I still have some work to do, but I’m look­ing for­ward to do­ing that work and keep mak­ing progress.”

Man­ning told re­porters that he hadn’t thought about where he will con­tinue his ca­reer, and his agent did not re­turn re­quests for com­ment Wed­nes­day. That ques­tion prom­ises to dom­i­nate the head­lines un­til he chooses a team.

Man­ning and Colts owner Jim Ir­say spoke Wed­nes­day about Man­ning’s de­sire to join a Su­per Bowl con­tender, which would seem­ingly put the Red­skins at a dis­ad­van­tage. Wash­ing­ton is com­ing off four con­sec­u­tive last­place fin­ishes, in­clud­ing a 5-11 record in 2011.

One rea­son for that is a dearth of play­mak­ers on of­fense. Other suit­ors such as Mi­ami and the New York Jets have more for­mi­da­ble sup­port­ing casts in place. The Red­skins, how­ever, have ap­prox­i­mately $40 mil­lion of salary cap space with which to add tal­ent this off­sea­son.

“I’m not sure that Wash­ing­ton has the as­sets cur­rently that would be at­trac­tive to Pey­ton Man­ning,” former Su­per Bowl cham­pion coach Brian Bil­lick said Wed­nes­day on NFL Net­work.

There’s also the ques­tion of how Man­ning and Red­skins coach Mike Shana­han would co­ex­ist. Man­ning was known in In­di­anapo­lis for tak­ing ini­tia­tive to run prac­tices and call plays. Shana­han de­mands an even greater level of con­trol over the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Red­skins de­ci­sion-mak­ers, how­ever, be­lieve the part­ner­ship would be healthy, with Mike and Kyle Shana­han will­ing to de­fer to Man­ning be­cause of his track record and the Red­skins’ des­per­ate quar­ter­back sit­u­a­tion.

Be­fore all of that is sorted out, though, there’s the mat­ter of Man­ning’s fit­ness.

“If he can re­cover,” Kyle Shana­han said in Jan­uary, “and the doc­tors say he’s healthy, he says he’s healthy — that’s enough for me.” “At some point, you just have to bring this stuff out into pub­lic. We’ve given the lead­er­ship all kinds of time, all kinds of ex­cuses, but it’s been six months,” Mr. Beck said.

Im­mi­gra­tion is one of the thorni­est po­lit­i­cal is­sues as the gen­eral elec­tion in Novem­ber ap­proaches. Im­mi­grant rights groups have blasted Pres­i­dent Obama for fail­ing to move a le­gal­iza­tion bill, but Num­ber­susa’s de­ci­sion shows there is just as much frus­tra­tion on the other side with Repub­li­cans, who won con­trol of the House in 2010 while promis­ing to get tough on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, but who have not pushed through any ma­jor crack­down.

Mr. Beck wouldn’t say how much money would be spent on the ads, which will tar­get var­i­ous dis­tricts that may in­clude Mr. Boehner’s in Ohio.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner, blamed the leg­isla­tive process for the bill’s de­lay.

“Speaker Boehner has sup­ported leg­is­la­tion with E-ver­ify in the past, and the is­sue is cur­rently work­ing its way through the com­mit­tee process,” Mr. Steel told The Wash­ing­ton Times in an email.

The E-ver­ify bill, spon­sored by House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man La­mar Smith, passed out of the Texas Repub­li­can’s com­mit­tee on a 22-13 vote last year and is sit­ting in the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee. A spokes­woman for that com­mit­tee didn’t re­turn a mes­sage seek­ing com­ment.

Mr. Beck said the block­ade is by de­sign and that he has heard from peo­ple who said Mr. Boehner told them he won’t take up the bill in an elec­tion year.

“Repub­li­can House Speaker John Boehner re­fuses to let the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vote on E-ver­ify,” the group’s ra­dio ad says, telling vot­ers to call Mr. Boehner and de­mand that he hold a vote on the bill. “If he re­fuses, ask him why Repub­li­cans de­serve your vote in Novem­ber.”

The tele­vi­sion ad is sim­i­lar, urg­ing vot­ers to call Mr. Boehner and ask him why he won’t sched­ule the leg­is­la­tion.

“Tell him to bring E-ver­ify up for a vote, or he might not like your vote in Novem­ber,” the an­nouncer says.

E-ver­ify, which re­lies on So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers, is vol­un­tary for most busi­nesses in the U.S., though a hand­ful of states have en­acted laws man­dat­ing its use for cor­po­ra­tions op­er­at­ing within their ju­ris­dic­tions. The Supreme Court has up­held Ari­zona’s ver­sion of that law.

Un­der fed­eral law, all fed­eral agen­cies and con­trac­tors, and all con­gres­sional of­fices, are sup­posed to use the data­base.

Num­ber­susa wants all busi­nesses to use the sys­tem, ar­gu­ing that it would push out il­le­gal work­ers and leave those jobs for cit­i­zens and le­gal im­mi­grants.

Mr. Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has said he wants E-ver­ify to be made manda­tory, but only as part of an over­all le­gal­iza­tion of the 11 mil­lion il­le­gal im­mi­grants al­ready in the coun­try.

Mean­while, three of the four Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have called for E-ver­ify to be made manda­tory as part of their se­cu­rity-first ap­proach. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is the only one who has re­jected the idea, ar­gu­ing that it would turn busi­nesses into im­mi­gra­tion po­lice forces.

Mr. Beck said Repub­li­cans should see the is­sue as a win­ner, not a po­lit­i­cal li­a­bil­ity. He said Democrats al­ready have enough am­mu­ni­tion to at­tack Repub­li­cans for their stance on crack­ing down on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, and there is lit­tle left for the GOP to lose by push­ing for E-ver­ify.

A Wash­ing­ton Times/jz An­a­lyt­ics Poll re­leased Mon­day found that Repub­li­can pri­mary vot­ers were more than will­ing to ac­cept the po­lit­i­cal price for a get-tough ap­proach.

By nearly 4-to-1, 68 per­cent to 18 per­cent, likely vot­ers said the GOP should pur­sue stricter en­force­ment even if it would cost Repub­li­cans the sup­port of His­pan­ics. That was true for self-iden­ti­fied Repub­li­cans and for in­de­pen­dents who planned to vote dur­ing the GOP pri­maries.

Op­po­nents say the sys­tem is too prone to er­ror, though the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion says it has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally over the past five years.

Groups that have pres­sured law­mak­ers against E-ver­ify in­clude the Na­tional Small Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, which sent a let­ter to House mem­bers last year call­ing the sys­tem bro­ken. The as­so­ci­a­tion ar­gued that the penalty for fail­ing to use the sys­tem — up to 10 years in prison per of­fense — “is as se­vere as the pun­ish­ment for sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in many states.”


In­di­anapo­lis Colts owner Jim Ir­say an­nounces that the NFL foot­ball team will re­lease quar­ter­back Pey­ton Man­ning dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in In­di­anapo­lis on Wed­nes­day as Man­ning lis­tens. The quar­ter­back plans to con­tinue his ca­reer.

Mike Shana­han, head coach of the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins, takes ad­van­tage of a chance to talk with In­di­anapo­lis Colts quar­ter­back Pey­ton Man­ning af­ter an NFL pre­sea­son foot­ball game in In­di­anapo­lis in 2011.

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