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Colts' statement insists team, Manning 'remain close and unified'

As owner Jim Irsay promised, the Indianapolis Colts issued a statement Friday in response to the ongoing speculation regarding quarterback Peyton Manning's status as he attempts to come back from a third neck surgery.

"Peyton Manning, Jim Irsay and the entire Colts family remain close and unified as we continue to work through all the options that relate to his future with the Colts," the statement read. "The present focus is on the Super Bowl and the great game that awaits."

The statement also included a photo of Manning standing with Irsay, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, actress Meg Ryan, musician John Mellencamp and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh and closed with: "A good time was had by all at the Colts party Thursday night."

Manning's surgeon, Dr. Robert Watkins Sr., issued a statement Thursday night, saying the four-time NFL MVP had been "medically cleared to play professional football."

Irsay then tweeted that "Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for The Indianapolis Colts. Team statement coming on Friday."

Manning's agent, Tom Condon, later appeared on NFL Network's "Super Bowl Live," saying his client "certainly expects to return to play, and he wants to play; he's enthusiastic about it."

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