It sounds like the Brock Osweiler era will have to ride the pine for at least one more season. Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune is reporting that Peyton Manning is training in Louisiana - with an eye towards returning for his 18th season.
Manning has reportedly been evaluated by fitness expert, Mackie Shilstone, and has plans to begin working out with him this week. Manning did not emerge from the 2014 season unscathed, as it was reported that he played with a significant tear in his quadriceps.
The 5-time MVP wants to have a conversation with John Elway, the Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager of the Denver Broncos, before he makes the final decision. But putting in the work now, all with the goal of honing his body for the rigors of a 16-game season, is a strong indication that Manning will return.
He'll still have to pass his physical, which he considers to be a formality, rather than a litmus test. If he passes, his $19M salary for 2015 will be guaranteed after March 9th.
A lot has changed since last Manning suited up in the orange and blue. Gone are John Fox and Adam Gase -- in are Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison -- two coaches with long and storied histories in Denver, both as players and coaches.
However, apparently Manning has received the assurances from the new coaching staff that he's looked for. Whatever conversations he's had with Kubiak -- they met for dinner not long ago -- Manning likely believes that he's wanted in Denver, and not just by Elway and his teammates.
His last game was a bitter playoff loss to his old team, the Indianapolis Colts. Nobody truly believes that the great Peyton Manning would want to end his decorated career in that manner to that team.
Manning still has unfinished business in Denver. And despite the vocal minority who want the Osweiler era to begin in 2015, Manning in fact represents the club's best chance to bring home their third Lombardi Trophy.
He hasn't officially announced he's returning. But a report like this doesn't get leaked without the careful manipulation of Manning and his camp. Wink wink, nod nod.