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Manning plans to play, says he doesn't 'have anything to prove'

  • By NFL.com
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During a news conference to announce his release from the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning made it clear he continues to make progress in his rehabilitation following four neck surgeries.

Manning also reiterated the stance he's taken for several months: that he fully intends to get back on the field after missing the entire 2011 season.

"I don't feel like I have anything to prove," Manning said. "Nobody loves their job more than I do. Nobody loves playing quarterback more than I do. I still want to play."

Manning briefly discussed the status of his health Wednesday, saying he's "closer and closer" to feeling like his old self.

"I'm throwing it pretty well," Manning said. "I still have some work to do. I have some progress to make. But I've come a long way. I've really worked hard. I can't tell you the hours and the time I've put in to working hard and I really enjoy being back out there."

A tearful Manning kept the focus on the Colts and his relationship with owner Jim Irsay, sidestepping questions about his next team out of respect for the organization. Manning, 35, immediately becomes a free agent.

A number of teams have had discussions about Manning, who is expected to have at six to eight suitors if he proves to be healthy, according to NFL Network sources. 

"I have no idea who wants me, what team wants me," Manning told the Miami Herald after arriving back in Miami on Wednesday. "I literally have not had one conversation with anyone about these teams. It's been so hard to try to figure out some closure with my situation with the Colts that I haven't really concerned myself with that."

Manning has spent his entire 14-year career in Indianapolis, since the Colts made him the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.

"I don't know if it's like college recruiting, where you take visits," Manning said. "It's all new to me."

Earlier, Manning said he's been prepared "for some time" for this scenario, which reached a conclusion over the last 48 hours, saying "I am at peace with it."

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