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baltimoresun.com

Hopefully, Peyton Manning won't disappear into thin air

5:18 PM EDT, March 19, 2012

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     It'll be strange watching Peyton Manning line up behind center in a Denver Broncos uniform, but at least football fans in Baltimore won't automatically be required to root against him any more.

     Of course, he's going to have to win over a whole new generation of disenchanted fans after basically kicking Tim Tebow to the curb. There already is talk that Tebow will be shopped, though he might actually want to stick around to learn from the master and stand ready if Manning's surgically repaired neck doesn't hold up.

     The Broncos apparently will give Manning a five-year deal worth $95 million, but there will certain be all sorts of clauses in that deal to protect the team if he's not physically able to play. Here's hoping he's okay, because he's a joy to watch and -- by all accounts -- a class act. So is Tebow, but that's where the comparisons end.

     No doubt, Manning is a mile high after making his decision, but only time will tell how he'll adjust to playing his home games outdoors in the thin air and freezing temperatures of Denver.

     Can't wait to find out what Alex Smith does, now that the 49ers are out of the Manning sweepstakes. His trip to Miami may have just been a contract ploy, but the Dolphins are desperate for a new quarterback and failed to seduce former Green Bay backup Matt Flynn, so who knows how much money they might throw out Smith. The 49ers almost certainly will have to jack up their reported three-year, $24 million offer after Flynn signed for $26 million with Seattle with only two NFL starts under his belt.