Peyton Manning to Play For Broncos in 2015
One of the most brilliant NFL careers won’t be ending this year. Per Woody Paige of the Denver Post, the Denver Broncos will be able to give it another go with veteran quarterback Peyton Manning, who will return to the team in 2015.
Paige cited “three sources” that suggests Manning will be back for the 2015 NFL season, provided he passes his yearly neck exam and physical. Paige’s article naturally shines a light on the odds of Peyton Manning returning, and suggests he’s much closer to another season than retirement.
Manning, 38, had initially said during the middle of the season that he’d return to the Broncos if they “would have me”, but stepped back from guaranteeing a return shortly after losing to the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
It looks like Manning was just deflated from losing to his former team, while injuries and age may have finally taken their toll a bit down the stretch. Manning didn’t look great over the final four weeks of the regular season, but looked every bit as good as he did in 2014 over the first half of the year.
Manning could be seeing the writing on the wall in a good way, as new head coach Gary Kubiak brings in a zone-blocking scheme and run-heavy system that should help the aging quarterback remain at a solid level as he enters his age-39 season. Kubiak’s system doesn’t perfectly fit Manning (it usually features roll outs and bootlegs and Manning isn’t very athletic) but Kubiak has already stated publicly that Denver would run “the Broncos’ offense, not Gary Kubiak’s”. That figures to be an olive branch being extended to Manning, suggesting that Kubiak is more than willing to work with Manning, rather than place his offense above the accomplished quarterback.
Whether or not Manning’s return ends up being good news is anyone’s guess. There were whispers that Manning was breaking down, but calf and thigh injuries could have easily played a role in his regression down the stretch. If it really was more about nagging injuries, Manning could easily return to top form again in 2015 and give the Broncos one more shot at a Super Bowl. If it’s more about age and loss of arm strength, Denver could begin to slide down the ranks in an increasingly competitive AFC West.
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