Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning would presumably love to finish his career as a champion. He just doesn't have those plans at the end of this season.
Shortly after the Broncos landed in New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII, Manning confirmed that win or lose against the Seahawks, he plans to come back to the Broncos for the 2014 season.
“When I stop enjoying it, when I can’t produce, when I can’t help the team that’s when I’ll stop playing,” Manning said Sunday at a press conference, according to TheRedZone.org. “If that’s next year, maybe it is. I certainly want to continue to keep playing."
Given that Manning is 37 years old and has had multiple neck surgeries, people will speculate on his retirement until he makes it official. An ESPN.com report earlier this month indicated that an annual checkup on his neck will determine if he continues playing, although he has had a similar exam last year and there haven’t been any signs this season that his neck is bothering him.
It makes sense that Manning would like to leave the game on top, but realistically there was little chance of him walking away after breaking NFL records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season and leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl.
Even at 37, Manning looks like he could play many more years at a high level. There have been no indications he would be better off walking away now. The possibility of finishing his career by putting a bow on it with a Super Bowl championship isn’t incentive enough to quit while he’s still playing well.
“A number of players have walked away as champions,” Manning said. “I’m sure that’s a great feeling for those people. John Elway. Ray Lewis did it last year. Michael Strahan.
“Talking to Ray Lewis and talking to John Elway, they couldn’t play any more. That was all they had to give. They truly left it all out there.
“I still enjoy playing football. I feel a little better than I thought I would at this point coming off that surgery.”
So the Broncos don't have to worry Manning will surprise everyone by retiring if they win next Sunday. Given how Manning played this year, there is really no reason for him to think that way.
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