We now begin the “Will Peyton Manning return?” question, but we could get a decision soon.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that Manning has met with new Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, and was given assurances that if Manning returned, Kubiak would design an offense around the All-Star quarterback. Though the Broncos gave Manning until March to make a decision, Manning would make a decision soon, most likely this week, so Kubiak has more time to design the offense.
Manning, who will turn 39 in March, was coming off a MVP season in 2013, but fell sharply back to earth in 2014. Manning helped guide the Broncos to the number two seed in the AFC, but fell to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Divisional round, 24-13, in Denver. It was later revealed that Manning was playing with a torn quad muscle in his right arm. Manning had been doing so for the last few weeks of the season, and chose not to participate in this year’s Pro Bowl because of the injury.
That injury, coupled with the neck injuries Manning suffered while still with the Indianapolis Colts, are contributing factors in whether Manning will return or not. Manning also decided while attending Gatorade’s 50th anniversary celebration that if he returns, it will be for his next year, but he will not call it his “final” year. Manning has stated numerous times he does not want the “retirement tour” to distract him or the Broncos.
SB Nation is reporting that the official date that Manning has to decide by is March 9, at which time the Broncos can make Manning’s $19 million salary for 2015 fully guaranteed. Manning has told them wanted to make the announcement sooner to avoid any possible problems.
The Mile High Report has reported that Manning wants to have pass a physical to prove his body can still take the pounding of a regular season. The past two years, physicals were required because of the spinal fusion surgeries Manning undertook. This year, a physical is not required, but Manning wants to be cleared nonetheless.
There has also been word from multiple teammates, including wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, that Manning doesn’t need make a decision soon, it’s already done, and he’s coming back. A report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen stated that Manning has already decided to return but wants medical verification that he can still play at a high professional level. All indications at this point show he will return.
[Image courtesy of USA Today]