Whether Peyton Manning will be the Denver Broncos’ quarterback in 2015 is now up to Broncos general manager John Elway.
The Broncos quarterback met with Elway on Thursday and told Elway and other Broncos officials that he is “physically and mentally prepared” to play in 2015, a person informed of the meeting told USA TODAY Sports.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Manning hasn’t publicly announced his plans.
Manning, who will turn 39 years old in March, had been non-committal about his playing future since the Broncos’ divisional-round playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts last month. Manning is due to make a salary of $19 million this year, and that salary becomes guaranteed if Manning is on the Broncos’ roster on March 9, the final day of the 2014 league year.
Manning still needs to take — and pass — a physical, as stipulated by the five-year contract he signed with the Broncos in 2012. Manning said last month, while in Arizona to accept the NFL’s Bart Starr Award two days before the Super Bowl, that he didn’t expect to have any issues with passing that physical.
Manning played with a strained quadriceps muscle over the final month of last season, during which his production dipped dramatically. The Broncos compensated by shifting to a run-heavy offense, and though it was good enough for the Broncos to win the AFC West and clinch the No. 2 seed, Manning and the offense struggled in a 24-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Manning met with Elway and Broncos’ president Joe Ellis at the team’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo. on Thursday, their first in-person meeting since the Broncos hired Gary Kubiak as the new head coach last month. Manning has been training recently in his hometown of New Orleans.
Now that Manning has made his intentions to play clear to Elway and other Broncos officials, it is up to the Broncos to decide if they want Manning back under his current contract, or if they should restructure the deal.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Lindsay H. Jones