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“When I said he would be the highest-paid player in the league, it really was symbolic of the respect I have for him,” Irsay said. “I told him the thing I love about him is that he hates losing as much as I do and Bill does. I’m happy it’s done. He gave us a chance to sign Joseph Addai and the other guys.”

Practice is scheduled to begin Monday without Manning, who was placed on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to rehab from neck surgery in May.

It was the strangest offseason in Manning’s 14-year NFL career.

The 35-year-old quarterback had to contend with the longest work stoppage in league history, was part of an antitrust suit against the league and had his third offseason surgery since 2008. He got regular updates on the labor negotiations from NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday, and, Manning explained, his rehab might have progressed more quickly if the lockout rules hadn’t prevented him from working with the team’s training staff.

Manning also had to contend with questions about his comment of intentionally scoring poorly on the baseline concussion test, speculation that he wanted a special exemption to lift the franchise tag before the lockout was settled and more speculation that he wanted $25 million per year.

Manning insisted there was no substance to the rumors.

“We met on Thursday, we talked Friday, we had the deal yesterday and I signed it about 15 minutes ago,” Manning said.

A smattering of fans cheered when Manning rolled a suitcase on campus at Anderson University. Later, Manning walked across the street and signed autographs.

The biggest question now is when Manning will return to practice.

Polian said team doctors have told him the healing process should accelerate now that the nerve in Manning’s neck is “coming back.”

“There is no time table with these types of injuries,” Polian said. “It’s not like a knee where you can say he’ll be back in six weeks or something. You just don’t know and to speculate would be foolish.”

This is not the first time Manning has missed the start of training camp. He sat out one week in 1998, his rookie season, while negotiating his first NFL contract and missed all of camp in 2008 when he had two surgeries for an infected bursa sac in his left knee. This time, unlike the other two, he showed up on reporting day.

But teammates don’t seem to be concerned.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been down that road before, too,” defensive captain Gary Brackett said. “If there’s one guy you don’t have to worry about rehabbing, that’s Peyton.”

Manning has started 227 consecutive regular-season and postseason games and he doesn’t expect to start missing games now though he will do some light throwing this week.

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