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Peyton-palooza: Manning will have several suitors

By Dennis Waszak Jr.

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 7 2012 4:21 p.m. MST

Quarterback Peyton Manning collects his thoughts as speaks during a news conference in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Manning's record-breaking run as quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts ended Wednesday, when team owner Jim Irsay announced the team would release its best player.

Michael Conroy, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Rex Ryan's Jets need leadership in a lost locker room.

The Dolphins are looking for stability at a position that has been a revolving door since Dan Marino retired.

The Cardinals want to get back to the Super Bowl, and could be one elite quarterback away.

Peyton Manning, anyone?

The four-time NFL MVP got released by the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, but made it clear he still wants to play.

"I don't want to retire," Manning said. "Nobody loves playing quarterback more than I do."

The question is where.

Maybe it's Miami. The Arizona desert. Two Mannings in Manhattan?

Washington, Seattle, Kansas City, Denver and Tennessee are also possible suitors.

But for now, it's anybody's guess.

Including Manning's.

"I haven't thought yet about where I'll play," he said, "but I have thought a lot about where I've been."

Plenty of teams will be interested in the 35-year-old free agent quarterback — as long as he proves he's healthy after missing last season while coming off a series of neck operations. If everything checks out, the laundry list of teams will be lengthy — a Peyton-palooza of sorts.

And, why not? Manning has been one of the greatest to play his position, rewriting record books while throwing for nearly 55,000 yards and 399 touchdowns, and winning a Super Bowl along the way.

Ryan's Jets could be the landing spot, a scenario that would have Manning sharing the New York-area headlines with his brother Eli of the defending Super Bowl champion Giants. That sure would ramp things up in their sibling rivalry — and the teams' back-and-forth battle for the city spotlight. It would also likely signal the end for Mark Sanchez after three up-and-down seasons.

The Dolphins have said they would strongly pursue Manning if he became available, even after Matt Moore had a solid season while taking over for a team that has tried to replace Marino since 2000.

The Cardinals, three years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, are an intriguing possibility with one of the game's top wide receivers in Larry Fitzgerald. But they still have a lot of money invested in quarterback Kevin Kolb.

"There will be no other Peyton Manning," Colts owner Jim Irsay said.

Which is exactly why the quarterback will be one of the most sought-after free agents in NFL history.

Here's a look at some of his options.

ARIZONA CARDINALS:

Certainly having Fitzgerald there would give Manning a game-changing receiver. Arizona would also offer Manning a warm-weather climate.

The Cardinals also have been known to go after the big-named signal caller, as they did with Kurt Warner a few years ago.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt gave Warner lots of freedom at the line of scrimmage and would have no problem doing that with Manning. The problem? Arizona made a big splash last offseason when it signed Kolb to a huge contract, and would owe him a $7 million roster bonus on March 17 if he remains on the team.

DENVER BRONCOS:

What about Tebow Time?

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