On Friday, a 27-second video was posted on YouTube of someone appearing to throw a football with good distance and velocity, while wearing what looks like a Colts jersey and helmet. The video is titled, “Peyton Manning throwing at Duke Friday March 2, 2012.”
There’s no way to tell whether the person throwing passes in the video is really Manning or not, but ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports, citing an unnamed source, that it is an authentic video of Manning from Friday.
Mortensen describes Manning as having participated in “an aggressive throwing session” and showing “encouraging progress” after the neck surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season. Mortensen also reports that several sources say Manning’s throwing strength has dramatically improved. The video seems to back that up.
Almost as interesting as the video itself is the question of who posted it on YouTube, and why now. It appears to have been taken with a cell phone and from far enough away that the Manning camp could credibly say Manning didn’t know he was being filmed. But no one with a camera phone would be allowed anywhere near the practice field at Duke if Manning didn’t want video like this getting out. The person taking the video (who created a new YouTube account on Friday just to post this video) was clearly pro-Manning: He says, “What a ball,” after Manning’s first pass, driving home the point that Manning is throwing well.
Colts owner Jim Irsay is just days away from having to choose between paying Manning $28 million or releasing him. All indications are that Irsay will show Manning the door and move on to Andrew Luck, but Irsay has previously said that if Manning is healthy, Manning will remain with the Colts. To the extent that you can tell anything from a low-quality 27-second video, Manning looks pretty healthy right now.