Chris Mortensen Chris Mortensen

Peyton Manning Reportedly Expected to Announce Decision Next Week

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According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the Denver Broncos Peyton Manning is expected to announce his return on whether he’ll be playing in 2015 or choose to retire (via ProFootballTalk):

"“I would be surprised if we don’t have some type of word next week some time,” Mortensen said on ESPN. “That’s when I would expect that we would have word, officially, that Peyton is going to play football.”"

Mortensen then added:

"“Manning has got his heart, his mind, his spirit and his body ready to play in 2015.”"

Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) leaves the field following the loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

While fans will most remember Manning’s dismal performance against the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round of this year’s playoffs, it’s easy to forget that he was still one of the NFL’s best passers this season when healthy. Manning threw for 39 touchdowns and 4,727 passing yards.

If he chooses to return, the soon-to-be 39 year old will count as a $21.5 million cap hit against the Denver Broncos salary cap next season. It’s starting to look like that will in fact be the case, as Manning already met with Broncos General Manager John Elway and other team officials this past Thursday to discuss his football future.

Manning had been playing with a torn right quad since Week 15 of this past regular season, and it may have contributed heavily to his diminished play. Showing a general lack of zip on his throws, particularly on deep throws, Manning struggled mightily against the Colts defense in the Broncos 13-24 loss:

"“According to ESPN Stats & Info, Manning was just 6 of 21 (or 29%) on throws more than 5 yards down field. Consequently, the Colts defense successfuly held the Broncos defense to just 1 touchdown and 13 total offensive points on Sunday in what was a dominant performance.”"

However, if healthy, Manning remains one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL even if he’s lost some arm strength. The player we saw at the end of this season, probably is much worse than the quarterback we’d expect to see in 2015 with a presumably healed quad.

The 17-year pro is among the NFL’s all-time greats at quarterback. He trails only Brett Favre in passing yards with 69,691 career passing yards and is 1st in career touchdowns with 530 touchdown tosses. He’ll look to build on both marks if he returns next season and should surpass Favre’s 71,838 career passing yards total.

When it is finally time to hang up the cleats, Peyton Manning hopefully will retire as an Indianapolis Colt, a team he played 14 seasons for and won Super Bowl XLI with. Manning was 4x NFL MVP with the Colts and played not only the majority of his career, but most of his best seasons under the Horseshoe. He should be Canton-bound someday relatively soon donning Colts blue and white.