Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported that Peyton Manning met with Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway today at the team facilities at Dove Valley to discuss his future with the team. According to Klis, team President Joe Ellis traversed more than 1,000 miles to fly the team jet to New Orleans to pick Manning up and returned him following the meeting.
As Klis mentions, the length that Ellis and Elway went to get Manning to Dove Valley speaks volumes about how they value him. Although the meeting adjourned without a decision from Manning, he clearly remains a part of the organization’s paradigm moving forward.
Manning is working out in New Orleans for the express purpose of getting his body in shape and honing it for the purposes of weathering a 16-game season. The trainer, Mackie Shilstone, is renowned for extending careers and helping athletes take their game to the next level, as he did with female tennis pro, Serena Williams.
Manning reportedly finished the 2014 season with a significant tear in his quadriceps. Fortunately, it will not require surgery. It just needed some “R and R”. Manning’s health unraveled down the stretch and certainly played a role in his mystifying performance in the Divisional Round of the playoffs vs. the Indianapolis Colts.
He clearly has the desire to continue to play football. But he also likely wants to be sure that his body can hold up, so that he can be the quarterback he knows he can, and not a $19M liability on the grid-iron. The word on the street is that the team expects a decision from Manning sometime between now and the start of the NFL Scouting Combine, which begins February 20th.
Manning also met with new head coach Gary Kubiak, who was at the team facility, preparing for the Combine. The two met a few weeks ago, but were unable to discuss much football related.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that Manning told Elway that he is "physically and mentally prepared to play at a high level in 2015". Mortensen also reports that Manning expressed no wishes to retire in his pow-wow with Elway.