Day one of the Peyton Manning hunt produced plenty of clues on the
future Hall of Fame quarterback's next team, but no concrete answers.
Since being released by the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday it has been reported that 12 teams expressed interest in signing Manning. That list has been narrowed down to a couple of teams, and a source said the Miami Dolphins are in that mix.
However, the Dolphins must examine Manning's medical history. He has reportedly had four neck surgeries. They must also sit down with the 35-year-old quarterback and his representatives, before moving forward.
The Dolphins hope to meet with Manning in the coming days.
"He's obviously had a phenomenal career up to this point in time," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said at a Make-A-Wish foundation charity event Thursday.
"From all indications he's been a great leader in the locker room. He's had a great career with the Colts, and we'll see how things develop in the next week or so."
The timetable for Manning's decision isn't certain. However, it is likely that the Dolphins need a decision by 4 p.m. on March 13, which is the start of free agency.
Manning has been training for the past month, throwing passes to receivers like former University of Miami standout Reggie Wayne, who is also be free agent.
Wayne attended UM's Pro Day on Thursday but wouldn't talk about Manning, saying he'd stand on everything said during an interview he did with WQAM on Wednesday.
During the interview with former UM great Michael Irvin Wayne said Manning's healthy, driven, and campaigned for the two to reunite in South Florida.
General Manager Jeff Ireland also attended UM's Pro Day, but he abruptly left 20 minutes into the field portion of the workouts after a 10 minute phone call away from the action. Brian Gaine, the Dolphins' director of player personnel, also left with Ireland, whom the team says had a family emergency.
Philbin acknowledged the pursuit of a starting quarterback is Ireland's responsibility.
Owner Steve Ross has had his eye on Manning for awhile, and the Dolphins are viewed by many NFL insiders as the favorite to land his services.
The team has approximately $15 million in cap space remaining and can make Manning an acceptable offer.
The Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals and Washington Redskins are also viewed as serious contenders for Manning. Some reports state he'd prefer to remain in the AFC.
The Dolphins could use many avenues to recruit the 11-time Pro Bowler, who has relocated his family to their South Beach condo this offseason. But it doesn't appear former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino will be making a pitch to his friend.
"I probably wouldn't do that unless he asks for some advice," Marino told the Associated Press. "[Manning] has plenty of people that he's working with to help him make the right decisions."
The last time Manning experienced a recruiting process he was a high school player in New Orleans.
In 14 years with the Indianapolis Colts Manning never tested the free agent market. Now, that's all his next few days will be consumed with.
"I have no idea what these next steps are ahead of me. This is all new to me," Manning said. "I'm going to keep working. That's what I have to keep doing."
The same applies to the teams in the hunt for his services.
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