The Denver Broncos were once not sure if they would have Peyton Manning back for the 2015 season, but now rumors indicate that the 39-year-old quarterback may be coming back in the best shape of his career.
Manning was hampered by injury at the end of last season, leading to some shaky performances and ultimately a disappointing exit from the NFL playoffs. After the year ended there were rumors that Manning was planning to retire — or that the Denver Broncos possibly no longer wanted his services.
Those days seem far away now. A new report indicates that Manning is not only back in full healthy, but reaching the best strength and conditioning shape of his career.
— Jaron Cohen (@JaronCohen1) May 21, 2015
Through this, the Denver Broncos have quietly re-tooled for what could be Manning’s last chance for a Super Bowl. While much of the attention has been on the New England Patriots’ Deflategate drama and big free agent signings like Ndamukong Suh, the Broncos appear ready to contend for a title again.
The sports blog Today’s Pigskin noted:
“He’s going to empower Peyton Manning to do what he does best–run every facet of the offense. He’ll call the game from the huddle and at the line, making every check at every position if necessary, and they’ll be successful.
“Meanwhile, the defense will be empowered to set playmakers like Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and rookie Shane Ray free to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. They’ll win 11 or 12 games, win the AFC West and then once they find their way into the postseason, anything can happen.”
While many believe the Denver Broncos can again contend for a Super Bowl, some are not as high on Peyton Manning anymore. The man once seen as the best in the league was ranked No. 8 on NFL.com’s list of quarterbacks.
SB Nation‘s Broncos correspondent Scotty Payne defended the decision:
“I do not really disagree where Manning is ranked on this list. He is still a really good quarterback, but he is 39-years-old. His body will break down quicker, and he is more prone to injuries now. It will be up to new Head Coach Gary Kubiak to run a more balanced offense to keep Manning’s legs, arm, and overall body fresh into December and January.”
But if the rumors about broken weight-lifting records are true, Peyton Manning might be climbing the list and the Denver Broncos could once again be playing in February.
[Image via Getty Images/Doug Pensinger]