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Cardinals: Peyton Manning Is No Longer An Option

The race for Peyton Manning continues but it does not include the Arizona Cardinals. After the Cardinals paid Kevin Kolb a $7 million bonus on Friday, head coach Ken Whisenhunt released a statement on the team's website officially bowing out of the Manning race.

The full statement from Whisenhunt, via the Cardinals official site:

"Regarding today's developments and our quarterback position, acquiring Peyton Manning is no longer an option for us.

"Since the end of last season we made it very clear that our plan was to head into 2012 with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, let the process play out and - like at every position - go with the quarterback who gives us the best chance to win.

"Obviously something very unique and unexpected presented itself. We've said it many times: if there's an opportunity to make our team better we'll explore it; we view the potential of adding a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback as one of those. The organization quickly put together an aggressive plan to go after it. We're proud of that and feel very strongly about what we have to offer as a team and as an organization. In the end it didn't work out but from our perspective it was very positive and we certainly don't have any regrets about it.

"We sit here today in the same spot we were heading into the offseason. That's with two experienced quarterbacks who have both demonstrated positive things in the past and who we feel good about. Like we said at the end of the season when we won seven of the last nine games, carrying the momentum of that strong finish into 2012 is important and that remains unchanged."

By many accounts, the known finalists are the Titans, Broncos and, as of Friday, the 49ers.

For more on the Cardinals, visit SB Nation's Revenge Of The Birds and SB Nation Arizona.