Peyton Manning’s decision on his football future apparently will have to wait until after his appearance on Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary celebration.
Manning, who met with Denver Broncos officials on Thursday to discuss his returning to the team for his 18th NFL season, is scheduled to be among those appearing on the SNL extravaganza Sunday night in New York.
Manning hosted the show in 2007 following his quarterbacking the Indianapolis Colts to victory in the Super Bowl Baseball’s Derek Jeter is the only other sports figure scheduled to appear.
The trip to New York would push Manning’s announcement, which has been anticipated for several days now, into next week, but presumably before Broncos officials go to Indianapolis for the draft combine.
Reports indicate Manning, the league’s only five-time MVP and one of the prolific quarterbacks in NFL history, wants to return after receiving a favorable physical evaluation, especially on his surgically repaired neck from trainer and fellow New Orleanian Mackie Shilstone earlier this week in his home town.
That had been a major concern of Mannning’s and the Broncos about his ability to continue his career. A torn quad suffered in December that hampered his passing in the last month of the season is not an issue, according to a source close to the matter.
Also, the Broncos would owe Manning, who joined the team in 2012 after missing the 2011 season because of the neck surgery and his subsequent release from the Indianapolis Colts, $19 million if he is on their roster after March 9.
Manning, who will turn 39 next month, would count $21 million against Denver’s salary cap this season as well but the cost to the Broncos if he is released would be negligible.
“If there is any hesitation on the Broncos part, Peyton obviously wants to hear it from them,” the source said before Manning met with team CEO Joe Ellis and vice-president and general manager John Elway.
Manning also would have to pass a team physical sometime between Feb. 23 and Match 9, but he said before the Super Bowl that would not a problem.
If Manning does return to the Broncos, he is expected to spend much of the offseason training under Shilstone, whom he has known for several years but who he has never worked with before.
Shilstone is known for helping to prolong the careers of several athletes.
According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, “Peyton has got his heart, his spirit, his mind and his body ready to play in 2015.
“He just doesn’t want to walk away just yet.”
The source close to Manning said Manning was not interested in continuing his career with any team other than the Broncos.