It sounds like Broncos Country won’t have to wait much longer for Peyton Manning’s decision to either return to the Denver Broncos for his 18th season, or retire. According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, Manning is likely to not only decide to return to the Broncos for 2015, but also that the decision will come this week.
Manning’s 2014 season ended in a most disappointing fashion, losing to his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, in the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs. Not only did the Broncos lose at home, but Manning left the field banged up.
We knew that Manning had been nursing a quad injury, but it was reported that Manning’s injury was actually a tear in his quad, not just a strain, which the Broncos vehemently denied – of course. Manning made it clear, following the loss to the Colts, that he was going to take some time to decide whether he’d return and that coaching and health would play a significant role in his choice.
John Elway “mutually” dismissed John Fox and most of his staff, including offensive coordinator Adam Gase and hired Gary Kubiak. Kubiak, of course, has a long and storied history in Denver, but he brings to the table an offensive system quite different than what Manning has ran over the last three seasons.
There was much wringing of hands as to whether Manning and Kubiak’s style would mesh, but according to Manning, he’s confident he can perform at a high level in Kubiak’s scheme. He and Kubiak met last Wednesday, and although their hands are tied in discussing certain “football” topics, per NFL rules, the player and coach got the opportunity to get to know one another more personally.
Manning feels more assured that Kubiak will embrace him and help him to thrive in this new coaching environment, according to Mortensen. Expect an announcement soon that Manning will return to the Broncos for the 2015 season.
He’ll have to undergo a physical and provided he passes it, his $19M salary becomes guaranteed on March 9th. That’s still more than a month away, but it sounds like we won’t have to wait that long for news on Manning’s return.