The Washington Times - April 3, 2012, 08:55AM

Peyton Manning’s fitness following a series of neck surgeries did not temper Redskins coach Mike Shanahan’s recruitment of the free-agent quarterback last month.

Shanahan at the NFL annual meetings last week acknowledged uncertainty regarding Manning’s fitness, but he expressed confidence Manning will resume playing at a high level.


“I don’t think anybody is convinced until he’s ready to go,” Shanahan said when asked his belief about Manning’s health. “Knowing him, knowing his work ethic, knowing his passion for the game, I would be shocked if he’s not ready to go – just knowing him and how he prepares and how hard he works.

“In my mind, he’ll be ready. Now, doesn’t anybody know for sure? You don’t, obviously, until he proves it on he football field. But I’d be shocked if he’s not ready to play.”

Shanahan and his son, Kyle, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator, met with Manning last month for five hours at the Shanahan’s expansive Denver home. They analyzed film and discussed personnel, Mike Shanahan said.

Manning ultimately signed with the Denver Broncos for five years, $96 million.

“It was kind of just interesting, fun to sit down and talk football for a number of hours,” Mike Shanahan said. “At the end I had a feeling what direction he may go, especially with our situation with the cap – which I can’t talk about in detail. We had a good conversation.”