Manning's mind on football, not future
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Peyton Manning's mind is on New England, not
When answering a question last week about whether he could still enjoy
the playoffs given his previous postseason disappointments, Manning
dropped in a phrase that "the light is at the end of the tunnel for me,
Meaning, that at age 37 he certainly has more games and seasons behind
him than ahead.
Following Denver's 24-17 win over San Diego on Sunday that sent the
Broncos into the AFC championship, Manning was asked whether a medical
exam on his surgically repaired neck following the season, which ESPN
reported will determine whether he even plays in 2014, was weighing on
"It's really not," Manning said. "What's weighing on my mind is how
soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth. That's priority one."
Neither Manning nor the Broncos have any indication whatsoever that
Manning won't pass his medical exam in March — if anything were wrong,
he wouldn't be playing right now.
And Manning is coming off the best statistical season of his brilliant
career, one in which he threw for a record 55 touchdowns and 5,447
But he's not one who likes to look too far ahead anyway, just like he
hates going down memory lane or talking about his health publicly.
Now, Patriots pass-rushers Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich might be
among his concerns this week. But he didn't even want to talk about the
Patriots following Denver's win over the Chargers, much less about his
upcoming medical exams or his football future.
"It was an intense game and up and down and a lot of emotions," Manning
said. "Even the Patriots is (too far) ahead. And that question is way
far ahead. I am not there. This team has been a one-week-at-a-time
season. For all we've been through, losing our coach, losing different
guys to injury, that approach has served us well and I think we need to
keep that approach from here on out."
Manning has always said that if doctors had told him after his spinal
fusion surgeries two years ago that he shouldn't continue playing
football, he would have walked away from the game without regret and
that he'd do the same if he receives such medical advice down the road.
All parties expect him to receive the go-ahead to play next season when
he has his medical exam in March, which is just like the one he had
after last season.
Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts in March of 2012 after
four neck operations that weakened his throwing arm. He signed with the
Broncos and has gone 27-7 in Denver with 97 TD passes and 24
interceptions, counting playoffs.
The Broncos (14-3) on Sunday host the Patriots (13-4), who haven't
played on the road in the AFC playoff bracket since losing to Manning
and the Colts 38-34 in the AFC title game following the 2006 season.
Manning Focused On Patriots Not Future
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