The wait may be nearing an end.
Since the Denver Broncos claimed their third Super Bowl championship in franchise history three weeks ago, the entire NFL world has been asking the same question. Will Peyton Manning retire? Soon, there may finally be an answer.
According to sources, the future hall of fame quarterback is expected to make an announcement about his future sometime in the middle of this week.
The vast majority of NFL sources believe Manning will choose to retire. It would certainly be no surprise if Manning, who turns 40 next month and saw his level of play decline drastically this season, decided to retire on top just weeks after being the first passer in NFL history to win a world championship with two different teams.
However, it also should be no surprise that Manning has taken his time with his decision. He said he would do as much in nearly each of the dozen or so interviews he gave following Super Bowl 50 and he stuck to his word.
He did so because, for him at least, this is not nearly as easy a decision as it looks.Peyton Manning has played football for as long as he’s been allowed to put on pads. He has competed at the highest level in every possible part of the game for a quarter century. Football, for lack of a less clichéd term, is all Peyton Manning knows.
So often when players contemplate retirement, they are 99 percent certain of what they have to do. The trick is getting past that one percent. For Manning, it must be torture.
He is the ultimate creature of habit. He is petulant about preparation. He thrives in the film room, and as far as anyone knows, he still loves the process required to prepare for a game of football. He likely always will.
However, the NFL is a constantly moving business and Manning knows the clock is ticking on his decision. His $19 million salary becomes guaranteed on March 9 and there is absolutely no chance that Broncos General Manager John Elway will welcome him back at that price a year removed from throwing 17 interceptions in 11 games. So, at the very latest, he needs to decide on whether to return or not by March 8.
At the NFL combine in Manning’s former home of Indianapolis this week, Elway told the press that the five time NFL MVP had yet to make up his mind. “Peyton still needs a little more time,” Elway said. “We’re going to give that to him.”
Sources say that if Manning were to decide to play in 2016, the Broncos would most likely release him. If that were to happen, Manning could receive offers from the Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans, or Cleveland Browns.
Yet, if Manning retires as expected, the Broncos would be pushed even further into action to secure a long-term contract with 25-year old quarterback Brock Osweiler, who went 5-2 during seven starts this season in Manning’s stead.
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