The video you see here is certainly not of the best quality (something we'd expect out of a Metallica bootleg circa 1986), but if what it shows holds out through the preseason, the NFL quarterback market will be that much more interesting over the next few months.
This is video of a guy who looks very much like Peyton Manning -- the body type, the dropback from center, the familiar hop in the gait before the throw -- during a workout at Duke University on Friday. Manning has been working out at Duke since early February, under the guidance of David Cutcliffe, who was Manning's offensive coordinator at Tennessee. ESPN's Chris Mortensen got confirmation from a source at the workout that Manning is indeed the man in the camera eye.
If this is indeed Manning, you can clearly see him sail the ball deep on the few throws, which corroborates recent reports indicating that Manning's right arm, weakened by nerve impingements after several neck surgeries, seems to be very much on the mend.
"What I've seen, he certainly looks fine as far as throwing and velocity on the ball," father Archie Manning told Shutdown Corner's Kristian Dyer from the Maxwell Awards press conference in New Jersey on Friday. "He hasn't had any setbacks throwing. He's been throwing for two months and has four or five [months] to go before the season starts.
"I think Peyton is just getting through this day-to-day. I think all Peyton knows to do is work. We'll see what happens. He understands the whole situation and I think he knows all he can do is get his health back. He wants to play some more football and be ready to play."
Of course, Manning missed the entire 2011 season as a result of those injuries, and his recovery has been one of the main stories of the offseason. On March 8, the Indianapolis Colts will either have to pay him a $28 million roster bonus, cut him loose, or try to renegotiate and extend that deadline.
If the Colts do part ways with Manning, there will be a host of teams lining up to investigate the possibility of procuring his services. And no matter the schematic, medical, and franchise-related adjustments inherent in such a move -- well, if the guy in the video can throw like that in 11-on-11 drills, you can bet that a lot of coaches will cast those concerns to the side.
Because if Peyton Manning is indeed on his way back, someone's going to bet the farm on his future.