View Photo Gallery: John Elway (facing camera) and the Denver Broncos are in Durham, N.C., to watch Peyton Manning throw and evaluate his physical condition. The San Francisco 49ers did the same thing Tuesday.

Updated at 5:03 p.m. with John Elway tweets

The San Francisco 49ers have emerged as a late entry in the bidding for free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning, according to ESPN.

49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen report, met with Manning, who is recovering from multiple neck surgeries, and watched him throw Tuesday night at Duke University. He was given a physical the next day.

The 49ers are seen as a longshot, Schefter reported, but their interest would explain why they have not re-signed quarterback Alex Smith, who became a free agent Tuesday. Smith and Manning share the same agent, Tom Condon.

As this report emerged, Manning was working out for Denver Broncos vice president John Elway, Coach John Fox and medical personnel this afternoon at an indoor facility at Duke, where he has been rehabbing. Duke’s football coach, David Cutcliffe, was Manning’s offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. The Broncos, according to the Denver Post, are offering Manning a five-year deal in the $90-million range.

The scene in Durham was surreal, with cameras in helicopters following the white van carrying the Broncos’ officials to Duke and ESPN carrying the live footage in an inset. (Yes, a white Bronco van. Was Al Cowlings driving?)

After the workout, Elway tweeted:

We enjoyed visiting with Peyton today in N.C. He threw the ball great and looked very comfortable out there.

— John Elway (@johnelway) March 16, 2012

Watching him throw today was the next step in this important process for our team and Peyton. It was a productive visit and went well.

— John Elway (@johnelway) March 16, 2012

Manning has met with the Tennessee Titans and intends to work out for them as well, the NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi reported. Manning has told the Miami Dolphins that they are no longer a contender and has told the Arizona Cardinals to move forward as if he will not be joining them, ESPN reports. The Cardinals must release quarterback Kevin Kolb by 4 p.m. EDT today or pay him $7 million if he is on the roster Saturday.

Manning, a four-time MVP, was released by the Indianapolis Colts on March 7.

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