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Peyton Manning says he 'could go out' and play this Sunday

One of the biggest questions surrounding quarterback Peyton Manning has been whether he's healthy enough to play football. At a news conference introducing the new Denver Broncos quarterback on Tuesday, the four-time MVP tried to answer that question.

"Could I play a game this Sunday? Yeah, I could," he said, when asked if he'd be able to get on the field immediately. "I don't know if I could play as well as I would like, but yeah, I could go out there."

Manning, who is attempting to come back after multiple neck surgeries forced him to miss the 2011 season, said he was honest about his health with the teams that evaluated him since he parted ways with the Indianapolis Colts. He said he was encouraged that those teams weren't dissuaded from pursuing him.

"I've been very open with the Broncos, really all the teams, about my medical history, where I am, how I feel ..." Manning said. "I couldn't sell myself when it came to that. I had to let them tell me and decide this is something that they wanted to do. What was encouraging to me was that all the teams that took part in that process ... they wanted to go forward."

For his part, Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway said the team's medical staff "feel(s) great" about the quarterback's health, according to the Denver Post. "I don't consider it much of a risk," he said.

Manning did allow that he isn't quite ready to play up to his own high standards.

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"I have a lot of work to do in getting to where I want to be from a health standpoint and learning this offense," he said. "This is going to take a ton of work."

He added that while it is too early for him to be 100 percent -- "It is March," he said; "I have a hard time reminding myself of that," -- he is excited to have a settled situation.

"I do know it was important for me to get into a facility and get back into my routine," he said. "I'm excited I can get back into a routine and get to work and hopefully that can get me on the right track."

Manning said he's even a bit optimistic that the time off will have left him "fresher," but he knows "what a challenge I'm in for."

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