Jerry Rice would like to see the San Francisco 49ers sign Peyton Manning whenever he becomes a free agent. However, that's a move that his former team should stay away from because of the uncertainty surrounding Manning’s health.
After refusing to discount what quarterback Alex Smith did for the 49ers last year, Rice still said that the 49ers should go after Manning. From SFgate.com:
"I think you go for it, you really do," Rice said in an interview with The Chronicle and the Bay Area News Group. "You have to go after him. You've got a defense that's going to smack you in the mouth, but you need a little more from the offense.
"Not knocking what Alex Smith did ... but a guy with the knowledge and talent of Peyton Manning, I think you'd take it to a whole different level. If he's healthy, he's going to have a chip on his shoulder like crazy. He's going to be pissed."
The key phrase from that quote is when Rice says, “if he’s healthy.” Aside from some sources telling reporters that Manning is getting better—and that he will be ready for minicamp—there hasn’t been anything to show that Manning is indeed healthy.
Yes, there was a video of Manning throwing. However, there were two things that jumped out about that video.
First, you never actually see that it is Manning throwing. All that you see is a player who has the same throwing motion and the same build, who is wearing a Colts uniform and helmet.
Second, the video just so happened to be released days before the Colts were going to part ways with Manning.
Recently, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke went onto KNBR to crush any rumors linking Manning to San Francisco:
General manager Trent Baalke, who was a guest on KNBR this morning, made it seem as if Manning was not a hot topic or even a lukewarm topic in the 49ers' front office. Co-host Larry Krueger asked Baalke if he thought Manning, who has had multiple neck surgeries and who missed the 2011 season, would play again. Baalke's response:
"We haven't had Peyton in here nor are we even talking about those things internally right now. ... Is he going to play? I don't know. That's for the doctors to make the decision on and for him himself."
When healthy, Manning is a great quarterback. However, unless the 49ers know with 100 percent certainty that he is healthy, they should stay away.