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Colts to Cut Manning to Avoid $28 Million Option, ESPN Says

The Indianapolis Colts will cut quarterback Peyton Manning rather than pay the four-time National Football League Most Valuable Player a $28 million contract option as he tries to return from a neck injury that cost him the entire 2011 season, ESPN reported.

The network, quoting people close to the team who requested anonymity, said the announcement will come tomorrow at a news conference in Indianapolis with Manning and team owner Jim Irsay in attendance.

Colts spokesman Avis Roper said in an e-mail that he could not confirm the ESPN report because Irsay was at an NFL finance committee meeting.

The Colts, who finished 2-14 last season, have the first pick in April’s NFL draft and Irsay has said the club will select Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck.

The Colts have a March 8 deadline to decide whether to pay Manning the $28 million option. He had neck surgery in September and didn’t play last season as Indianapolis had its worst record since 1991.

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