Peyton Manning passes neck exam

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Peyton Manning passed a scheduled offseason exam on his surgically repaired neck Monday and has been medically cleared to play in 2014.

Denver Broncos executive vice president John Elway confirmed to ESPN that Manning passed the exam.

The Denver Post reported earlier Monday that Manning was cleared.

Despite setting NFL season records for passing yards and touchdowns in 2013, Manning had the exam because it was mandated by his contract.

Monday's exam marked yet another step in a remarkable recovery by Manning, who underwent fusion surgery on his neck that initially weakened his throwing arm.

A five-time league MVP, Manning missed the 2011 season and was released by the Indianapolis Colts before signing a five-year, $96 million deal with Denver in 2012.

Sources previously had told ESPN Senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen that if Monday's exam revealed any instability in the neck, Manning would have pondered retirement.

The 37-year-old Manning passed for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns as the Broncos went 13-3 and reached the Super Bowl, where they lost 43-8 to the Seattle Seahawks.

Manning said during Super Bowl week that he had no intention of retiring after the season. Although his plans for 2014 became a big story line in the playoffs, the Broncos' front office proceeded as though the quarterback would be returning for another run at a title.

If there were any concerns about his neck, he probably wouldn't have started all 16 games this past season, plus three more in the playoffs. Denver is 26-6 in the regular season since Manning joined the team.

Not only is Manning still performing at a peak level, he hasn't lost his love for the game.

Manning said upon his arrival in New Jersey for Super Bowl week that he still enjoys playing and practicing, and "when you still enjoy the preparation, I think you probably still ought to be doing that."

He passed the required exit physical that all players took in the days following the Super Bowl loss. He then played in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament just days later, another indication that his neck is fine.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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