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Condon: It isn't foolish to believe Manning can play again

Peyton Manning's agent, Tom Condon, said Friday on NFL Network that it wouldn't be foolish or unsafe for the Indianapolis Colts quarterback to play football next season as he continues to recover from his third neck surgery.

"(Manning's doctor) has said that he's structurally sound and that the fusion has taken place and that that's healed," Condon said on NFL Network's "Super Bowl Live," adding Dr. Robert Watkins said the quarterback "can take a hit and play in a football game."

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Watkins issued a statement Thursday night, saying Manning had been "medically cleared to play."

"Peyton certainly expects to return to play, and he wants to play; he's enthusiastic about it," Condon said. "I think that the rehabilitation is going very well, and I think he believes that also. He's made a substantial amount of progress, and so we anticipate him playing football next year."

Condon said he was responding to what he called "some substantial discussion" that Manning "wasn't going to be able to play and it was too dangerous and he was foolish to even think about it, and that's not accurate."

When NFL Network's Rich Eisen suggested that Manning and the Colts were using the media to "communicate ... what they really aren't saying behind closed doors yet," Condon said Eisen was "maybe not too far off." However, given the high-profile nature of those involved, Condon said "there's not any way to get through this week without" Manning's situation "being a huge topic of conversation." Condon added that the timing of Watkins' most recent assessment of Manning's health was "happenstance."

Condon added that Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay would meet "soon."

"Jimmy and Peyton have had a very strong relationship for a really long period of time," Condon said.

"Everybody wants to do what's best both for Peyton and for the Colts, and that's the focus."

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