All but one season of Joe Namath's 13-year NFL career was spent with the New York Jets, so the Hall of Fame quarterback knows a little bit about what Peyton Manning is going through right now. Manning, who missed the entire 2011 season following multiple neck surgeries, was released from the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, drawing a close to a legacy that turned around the downtrodden franchise.
Much like Namath, who left the Jets in 1977 to play one season with the Los Angeles Rams, Manning is now looking for his first team since being drafted by the Colts 14 years ago.
"I made that move after 12 years and it was very difficult. So much newness involved and I made the move because I wanted to play," Namath told Yahoo! Sports.
"The move was made because the Rams' coach was Chuck Knox and I had a relationship with him, one dating back to high school, actually. I thought I was sound enough to play and the Jets were going through a rebuilding situation and Richard Todd wanted to play. But I see Peyton going to a contender; I can't see him going to someone who can't contend. If he goes to Miami, he'd be in that situation certainly."
Namath (a contributor to the Shutdown Corner Blog during the playoffs), sees Manning playing in Miami making sense, especially since the team finished last year on a strong note and has several offensive playmakers to go with a good offensive line. Plus, Manning lives in south Florida, seemingly making it a natural fit.
On Friday, Manning visited the Denver Broncos, and the Arizona Cardinals will also get consideration from a quarterback who has thrown over 54,000 yards and 399 touchdowns in the regular season.
First and foremost, Namath is concerned with Manning's health, but he doesn't think teams should shy away from him just because of the neck surgeries and nerve impingement.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he can play another five years, if he's healthy," Namath said. "The number one thing with him is his arm strength because he does have excellent health otherwise. If anyone can swing this and be successful it is Peyton Manning — and let's not forget that Joe Montana was reasonably successful in Kansas City after all those years in San Francisco. I'm not concerned about him going somewhere new. I'd want to see him throw that ball. What about that arm strength?"
Follow Kristian R. Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer
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