INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning has been cleared to play by the doctor who operated on the quarterback's neck Sept. 8.
A spokesman for Dr. Robert Watkins sent a one-paragraph email to reporters late Thursday night after ESPN first reported that the Colts star had been cleared to play.
The Colts contend it is nothing new because Manning was cleared to practice in December, a move that would have also allowed him to start playing again. But it backs up Manning's contention from earlier this week that his recovery from September neck surgery is on schedule.
Manning has been throwing for at least two months and told reporters earlier this week that he was throwing with teammates Tuesday. But team doctors must still give Manning the okay, and it's unclear if or when that will happen.
Watkins, who performed the most recent surgery on Manning, examined the quarterback recently in Los Angeles, ESPN reported, and concluded the stability in his neck would have allowed the quarterback to play Sunday if the nerves in his arm had regenerated to a satisfactory performance level.
Colts owner Jim Irsay and Manning are scheduled to meet again next week to discuss his future.
More Colts: Greg Manusky was hired as defensive coordinator. Former offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen will remain on staff as either quarterbacks or receivers coach.
Pack names Clements OC: Green Bay promoted quarterbacks coach Tom Clements to offensive coordinator. Clements, a candidate for the Bucs' head coaching job before Greg Schiano was hired, has been the Packers' quarterbacks coach since 2006. He replaces Joe Philbin, who left to become the Dolphins' head coach.
Dorsett joins suit: Former Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett has joined more than 300 former players, including three other Hall of Fame members, in suing the NFL, its teams and, in some cases, helmet-maker Riddell, accusing them of being negligent concerning player safety and the dangers of concussions. "They use you up. … Yeah, I understand you paid me to do this, but still yet, I put my life on the line for you, I put my health on the line," Dorsett, 57, said. "And yet when the time comes, you turn your back on me? That's not right. … There's no doubt that what I went through as a football player is taking an effect on me today. … I'm just hoping and praying I can find a way to cut it off at the pass."
League approves $200M for 49ers stadium: NFL owners approved a $200 million loan to help the 49ers build a stadium south of Santa Clara, Calif. The team plans to bid for future Super Bowls for the 68,000-seat stadium, which will be built adjacent to the 49ers' facility. Owners approved another part of the funding package two months after the team and Santa Clara said they'd received an $850 million loan to cover most of the estimated $1 billion cost. The rest of the cost will be covered by the league's loan, a hotel tax and Santa Clara's redevelopment funds. The 49ers have to address their current Candlestick Park lease with the city of San Francisco that runs through 2014.
Raiders: Seven additional coaches were added to Dennis Allen's staff, including former Texans assistant Frank Pollack as offensive line coach and former fullback Justin Griffith as offensive quality control coach.
Ravens: Former Broncos defensive coordinator Don Martindale was hired as linebackers coach.