Ex-Colts exec Polian says Manning will return 'at a high level'

Former Colts vice chairman Bill Polian, who was fired in early January, presumably was as close as anyone in the organization to much of Peyton Manning's recovery from three neck surgeries that sidelined the QB for the entire 2011 season. Amid reports that Manning is still unable to throw effectively, Polian offered a much different observation during an interview with ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" on Thursday, recounting that he last saw Manning throw in late December.

"It's marked (improvement) from where he was back in September," Polian said. "He threw it accurately, he threw it with a good, tight spiral, and he threw it with velocity.

"Generally, he looked like a pretty confident quarterback out there."

Polian also indicated that Manning was able to make a variety of throws and throw across his body.

The update from Polian, which supports the claim by Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, paints a much different picture than recent reports from NFL Network's Jason La Canfora and Michael Lombardi on Manning's ability to throw effectively.

Polian went on to say that Manning's recovery is "coming, but coming slowly. But, nonetheless, its making progress."

Taking aim at the bottom line, Polian believes the ultra-competitive Manning is out to prove he can play again and "cross another hurdle." Polian believes Manning will return to the NFL, and will return "at a high level."

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