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2015 Manning's Last Year? Don't Count On It

Based on the last three and a half years in Denver and some recent comments he made, don't expect 2015 to be Peyton Manning's last season.

Most Denver Broncos fans don't want to re-live the Brett Favre-esque suspense Peyton Manning put them through this past spring when 2016 rolls around. Will he retire? Will he come back? 

It's so tiresome. 

However, for those of you who've followed my writings here at Mile High Huddle can attest, I've always been of the opinion that Manning will play out his full contract with the Broncos, which takes him through the 2016 season. 

Manning recently gave us a small easter egg to analyze—a small gleaning of what we can expect next from him next year. According to him, he doesn't have thoughts of retirement. 

As Manning made the rounds yesteday, promoting the NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV, he talked with Yahoo's Evan Doherty about the topic. 

"I don't have those thoughts," said Manning, who is 39. "I think about playing football to the best of my ability in 2015."

This statement is far from an absolute declaration that he's planning on returning. But, as long as Manning stays healthy, and as long as John Elway and the Broncos want him back, there's no reason to believe he won't be. 

There will be two flies in the ointment on his possible return for a fifth year in Denver. One—his contract. He accepted a $4 million pay-cut to return to the Broncos this past spring. With Demaryius Thomas new mega-contract and other salary cap constraints, the front office might ask him to do it again in 2016. 

Two—the development of Brock Osweiler. The young gunslinger is champing at the bit to step in and lead the Broncos. His progress in the preseason this year has been encouraging. As of right now, however, he is not under contract with the Broncos for 2016. 

Right now, the Sheriff is focused on 2015 and fine-tuning Gary Kubiak's new offense. From what we've seen so far in limited preseason snaps, the new Broncos offensive brain trust still has a long road to hoe to get to the point where they're firing on all cylinders. 

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Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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