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Cutcliffe confident Manning can return to action in 2012

David Cutcliffe, Peyton Manning's former offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee and close family friend, vouched for the quarterback's health and ability as Manning attempts to return to play after missing all of last season.

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Earlier in the month, NFL Network's Albert Breer confirmed that Manning appeared in a YouTube video in which he threw the ball during a workout at Duke University. Cutcliffe serves as Duke's head coach.

Having seen Manning throw several times in the last three months, Cutcliffe said Manning was "right on target" to return next season.

"It's incredible how much progress he's made in throwing the football," Cutcliffe told The Tennessean. "He's gotten his arm strength back and his accuracy is there. I'm not an NFL coach, of course, but I think I know what it takes to complete passes in the NFL and it's clear that Peyton can make all those throws."

Cutcliffe balked when asked for insight into Manning's thoughts on his next team.

"Peyton and I don't talk about things like that," Cutcliffe said. "I have too much respect for him as a person to ask what he's going to do. But I do know he loves Tennessee –- not just the school but the state."

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