PHOENIX — Peyton Manning is still thinking over his future, making no commitment to returning to the Broncos for his 18th NFL season.
“I’m taking some time to assess some things and to see,” Manning said Friday after accepting the Bart Starr Award in Phoenix. “Of course, I think that’s something that’s important to me, is not whether I can physically do it for myself, (but) can I physically do it to help the team?”
Manning delivered a shocker after Denver’s 24-13 loss to Indianapolis in the playoffs, reversing course from a month earlier and saying he was unsure whether he’d return for a fourth year with the Broncos.
The team then parted ways with coach John Fox and hired Gary Kubiak. Manning said he’s had dinner and a few good conversations with the new coach but they haven’t talked football.
Throughout his coaching career, Kubiak has designed mainly West Coast offenses that often require the quarterback to line up under center and roll out. Manning, who will be 39 at the start of the 2015 season, has never been mobile. He’s been most comfortable making quick throws out of the shotgun in recent years.
“If I choose to come back, I feel pretty comfortable that, aside maybe from Tubby Raymond’s Delaware Blue Hen Wing-T offense, I feel pretty comfortable playing in any offense,” Manning said.
He feels confident he can pass a physical in March, which would be a key consideration for the Broncos, who would owe him $19 million for 2015 if he’s on the roster when the new league year starts. Manning dealt with a nagging thigh injury that hampered his performance at the end of the season.
Kubiak and Broncos executives John Elway and Joe Ellis have urged Manning to take his time before making a decision.
“It’s one thing to play and have a uniform and be on the roster,” Manning said. “It’s another thing to truly be able to contribute and help. That’s the only way I’ve ever known to play football. Like I said, it’s been comforting to hear from John and Joe and coach (Kubiak) the other day. They are not in a rush to have an answer.”