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Colts quarterback Peyton Manning watches from the sidelines. Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Peyton Manning cleared to play in 2012, but future with Colts still in doubt

At least one of the questions surrounding the future of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has been answered — doctors have cleared him to play in 2012 — after multiple neck injuries sidelined him in 2011 and threatened to end the four-time NFL MVP’s career.

But where he will play this upcoming season is still in question as the Colts are locked into paying Manning a $28 million dollar option bonus next month, and the only way to avoid paying him is to release him before the deadline of March 8th.

Further complicating the matter is that even though Peyton has been cleared to play, the level of that play may not be on par with the potentially elite money he could see to remain in Indianapolis.

Manning still has plenty of nerve damage that has resulted in a loss of strength in his throwing arm.

Regardless of this recent development most around the league still feel that Manning has played his last down with the Colts.

Under the new management of GM Ryan Grigson, and with the backing of owner Jim Irsay, the Colts will likely take the $28 million due to Manning and use it elsewhere to continue their in depth re-build process coming off a 2-14 season.

Several reports have surfaced in recent weeks that seem to confirm that the Colts plan to move on without Peyton, and that they will select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck to replace him with the first pick in the upcoming draft.

If Manning does make it into free agency there could be several teams very interested in obtaining his services.

The Cardinals, Jets, and Dolphins are said to have the most interest, but surely any team without a franchise quarterback will likely make some play to try and sign him.

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Tags: 2012 Nfl Season Indianapolis Colts Jim Irsay Medical Clearence Neck Peyton Manning Ryan Grigson

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