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Jerry Rice thinks 49ers should go after Peyton Manning

Former 49ers legend Jerry Rice believes Alex Smith did a good job leading San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game last season, but he thinks the team should go after Peyton Manning if the ex-MVP becomes available.

“I think you go for it,” Rice said Tuesday. “A guy of that talent, you’ve got everything in place. You’ve got a defense that smacks you in the mouth. You just need a little more out of the offense. That’s not knocking what Alex (Smith) did. (Manning) can take you to a whole different level.”

Rice is extremely confident in Peyton’s ability, even though Manning is recovering from surgery.

“If he goes to the Washington Redskins, I guarantee they win 10 games. If he goes to Miami, they win 10 games,” Rice said.

Maybe Rice was impressed by the video of Peyton Manning throwing at Duke and feels Peyton can return to his pre-injury form. Even though Smith looked good last season, I agree with Rice — Peyton, if recovered, can take the 49ers to another level and give them a threat on offense. Paired with that defense, San Francisco would be dangerous.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Peyton Manning completes passing drills at Duke (Video)

Peyton Manning was at the campus of Duke on Friday going through what ESPN calls “an aggressive throwing session.” And now, a brief, 30-second video has emerged of Manning in a helmet and shoulder pads going through the drills, giving the public its first glimpse of Manning’s arm in action following the multiple surgeries on his neck last year.

The video is merely cell-phone camera footage, so it’s hard to get an accurate grasp as to how well Manning is actually doing. But he does at least appear to throw the ball with decent velocity and accuracy, a promising sign given the report last month that he has a “noodle arm.” One person behind the camera also comments “good ball” after one throw. The session was run by Duke head coach David Cutliffe, who was Manning’s offensive coordinator in college at Tennessee.

Previous reports indicate that Manning is steadily getting back his throwing strength as nerves in his arm continue regenerating following his most recent neck procedure in September. Archie Manning has said his son is starting to look like his old self on the football field.

“I did see him a couple of weeks ago. He was in New Orleans, and I saw him throw,” Archie said Friday. “He looked like Peyton, so as far as throwing and velocity of the ball, he looks fine.”

Based on this video, it’s hard to confirm Archie’s comments. As far as Peyton “looking like Peyton,” then yes, he is wearing a Colts jersey and helmet and throwing to Austin Collie and Dallas Clark, which is probably good enough for Indy fans for now. But the only person whose opinion matters is Jim Irsay, who has to soon decide whether to exercise the team’s $28 million option on Manning. The March 8 deadline for that decision is just days away. Tick tock, tick tock.

Props to SportsGrid for the video

Dolphins fans put up Peyton ‘Manning to Miami’ billboard in Fort Lauderdale

Some Dolphins fans have launched a movement aimed at bringing quarterback Peyton Manning to Miami, and they even put up a billboard promoting the campaign. The billboard appears near the I-95 and I-595 junction in Fort Lauderdale and it reads “Manning to Miami.com.”

The homepage of the Manning to Miami website says:

Be Part OF “The Movement” and Make History – BRING MANNING TO MIAMI – This site has been created to help influence Peyton Manning and the Miami Dolphins that “Manning to Miami” is a movement and marriage that the entire South Florida community is behind. Tell family, friends (even enemies), tell co-workers, business associates to cast their vote and make a difference in Bringing Manning to Miami.

How many wins is Manning worth? When’s the last time we the fans have had an “impact” quarterback? What about the most cerebral quarterback of all time?

Get behind this movement and let your vote be your voice and make a difference!

By filling out this form you are casting a vote to bring Manning to Miami and a list of names will be presented to the Miami Dolphins and representatives of Peyton Manning.

BRING MANNING TO MIAMI

It was reported that the Dolphins don’t plan to bring back Chad Henne, who has been their starter the past three seasons (he got hurt early last season). The Colts are not expected to pay Peyton his $28 million bonus in March and he is expected to become a free agent.

Given the uncertainty regarding Peyton’s arm strength, we think the Dolphins should pursue free agent Matt Flynn, who played quarterback in new head coach Joe Philbin’s system in Green Bay.

Click here to see the billboard.

H/T Andrew Siciliano

Did ESPN demote Ron Jaworski to make room for Peyton Manning?

Life will be a bit more dull when we finally figure out what the future holds for Peyton Manning. At the moment, he could either retire, stay with the Colts, or wind up with any NFL team that is in need of a quarterback. One second he’s healthy enough to play and the next his arm strength is reportedly nonexistent. Unsurprisingly, a new theory has emerged as to where Manning may end up next year: in the announcer’s booth.

As we know, ESPN announced earlier this week that Ron Jaworski has been removed from the Monday Night Football broadcast booth. For now, Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will share the duties. The NY Daily News wonders if Manning might join them next season.

For if Peyton Manning decides to call it quits, not return to football for the 2012 season, ESPN has positioned itself perfectly to lure the Indy legend to Bristol.

If Manning wants to do TV next season, ESPN is our odds-on favorite to get him. Teams clear cap space. ESPN has cleared booth space…

A network would not hire a star like Manning to work regional telecasts seen by 15% of the country. If you hire Manning he must work on the No. 1 team.

If someone like Manning were to break into broadcasting, Monday Night Football would be an appetizing offer. Something tells me, however, that Manning has not given this any thought. Regardless of how many neck surgeries he has had over the past year, Peyton still wants to play football. With that in mind, I wouldn’t put it past the folks in Bristol to have kicked around the idea.

Peyton Manning reportedly had four neck surgeries, could require another

Peyton Manning has had a bunch of neck surgeries. That is common knowledge. The question is does it matter how many he has had, or is everyone of the mindset that a bunch is a bunch? Sometime between May and September, Manning had what was believed to be a third procedure on his neck. On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks revealed that it was actually Manning’s fourth procedure. Even worse, it may not be his last.

While it cannot be determined exactly when the unreported procedure on Manning’s neck took place, it was at some point after his May 23 surgery in Chicago to correct a bulging disk, and before his Sept. 9 one-level cervical neck fusion surgery in Marina Del Rey, Calif. The same doctor who operated on Manning’s bulging disk in May did a follow-up procedure last summer in Chicago, as a result of the original surgery. … At the time of Manning’s September neck operation, that surgery was reported to be his third neck procedure in 19 months. In reality, it was his fourth.

In addition, league sources say Manning’s neck has potentially developed bone spurs just above the point where his latest fusion surgery took place in early September, and the Colts organization is under the belief that it is nearly inevitable Manning will at some point require further surgery, and possibly another fusion procedure, even if he does successfully return to the field in 2012. It’s unclear how any potential long-term neck issues will impact Manning’s decision to attempt a resumption of his NFL playing career later this year.

By now we can see how this story is going to go throughout the entire offseason. One minute Manning may never play again and the next he has reportedly been cleared medically. More recently, we heard that Peyton has a noodle arm and is not throwing like an NFL quarterback. Between talk of needing further surgery and the Colts willing to let him come back at a reduced price, nobody seems to have any idea what the future holds for the Hall of Famer. Wednesday’s report is just a reminder that Manning is not as healthy as he wants people to believe.

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray not big on Peyton Manning to Redskins

One of the teams that seems to keep coming up in the Peyton Manning discussion is the Washington Redskins. Like many other teams across the NFL, they desperately need consistency at quarterback. Naturally, Redskins fans would welcome the addition. Manning with a noodle arm is probably still better than Rex Grossman. The mayor of Washington D.C. is not so sure, however. When asked about it on Tuesday, Vincent Gray did not seem overly excited about the potential of Manning in a ‘Skins uniform.

“You know, I think it depends on what role he would play, Bruce,” Gray told NewsChannel 8′s Bruce DuPuyt. “But I really think the Redskins need a quarterback that they can build with for the future. You know, Andrew Luck is probably going to go to the Colts, but there’s Robert Griffin III, and there’s a couple other promising quarterbacks that are out there. We’ve kind of been down this pathway with quarterbacks who’ve been great but maybe are in the back end of their career, and even if he comes in and plays a year or two, where do we go from there?

“If going young meant another year of 5-11 but it meant potentially a brighter future…is that a (satisfactory) tradeoff, if you will?”

Gray has a point. If Manning’s rehab has been going as poorly as some are reporting, bringing him on board would be a huge risk. At this point in his career, Peyton doesn’t really have time to adapt to a new system and rebuild his arm strength. By the time he conquers both of those things he’d be in his late-30s. If Manning is not going to come in and turn the Redskins into an immediate playoff contender, is he even worth the risk?

Chest bump to D.C. Sports Bog and Shutdown Corner

Colts owner Jim Irsay: We can make it work if Peyton Manning wants to stay here

Colts owner Jim Irsay has put the ball back in Peyton Manning’s court as the public relations battle between the team and player continues.

“We can make it work if he wants to be here,’’ Irsay said of Manning Tuesday. “We’d be excited to have him back and finish his career with us.

“I want him to be able to make the choice. We would love to have him back here if he can get healthy and we can look at doing a contract that reflects the uncertainty of the . . . healing process with the regeneration of the nerve.”

Irsay is making the Colts look like the good guys in this negotiation. They’re not going to pay Peyton his $28 million option bonus on March 8. If they do offer him a contract, it likely won’t be for much money.

Considering the Colts are planning to draft Andrew Luck (or another quarterback), Peyton likely wouldn’t be willing to share the position when he could go to another team where they’d love to have him. This was a wise public statement by Irsay.