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Beat reporter believes Jets could pursue Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning in green and white?

The idea of seeing the heart and soul of the Colts dress for anyone else would serve as a jarring departure from life as we've known it since 1998. But it's not as outrageous as it sounds, according to one Jets beat reporter.

Manish Mehta, who covers the Jets for the New York Daily News, believes coach Rex Ryan's uber-appetite for a Super Bowl ring could lead to a new home for Manning, the four-time NFL MVP. That is, if the stars align.

"If Peyton Manning does become a free agent, you know, for argument's sake, (Stanford's Andrew) Luck gets drafted by Indianapolis, and the Colts cut ties with Manning, if he checks out physically -- and I know that's a big if -- but if that is the case, the Jets will make a call to inquire about Peyton Manning," Mehta said Tuesday on "PFT Live."

For the record, Ryan has denied any interest in Manning. All of this would hinge on the quarterback's successful recovery from his third neck procedure in the last two years and, of course, what Colts owner Jim Irsay plans to do with his star quarterback in the wake of firing vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian. The Colts, of course, also hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

"I'm not a betting man, but if you were a betting man, I think the smart money is that -- when you factor in Rex Ryan's affinity for Peyton Manning ... if he's available, one; if he's healthy, two ... the Jets will inquire about him," Mehta said.

"Now, it remains to be seen if a deal can be struck, and, again, we're looking far into the future here because it is a big if; if he's going to get cut for one and be available and, again, who knows about his health? But I think the Jets would really make a legitimate inquiry into Peyton Manning because of Rex Ryan's affinity for him. He thinks he's the best quarterback, when healthy, in the league -- better than Tom Brady, better than Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, all those guys."

For now, it's a theory. Nothing more than the stuff of dreams, but this much is clear: If Peyton to the Jets ever went down, it would represent dark times for anyone quietly longing for a pensive, more reserved Rex Ryan in 2012.

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