"“On Monday, agent Tom Condon told SiriusXM NFL Radio that Manning has told Condon, “I really like to play.’” On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning(via Rotoworld.com) that “in a perfect world” Manning would “like to keep playing.””"
Despite speculation that Manning would eventually retire after winning the Super Bowl, the 39 year old quarterback has yet to announce his highly anticipated decision on potential retirement.
Leading many to now believe that Manning is at least seriously contemplating returning for a 19th NFL season, given the extended deliberation that has currently taken place.
If Manning does indeed return, there’s a strong likelihood that it won’t be with the Denver Broncos, as he’s a prime candidate for release during the next week.
Due a $21.5M cap hit in 2016, Manning simply cannot return at that number, as the Broncos have to allocate such funds to some of their highly coveted free agents such as Von Miller, Malik Jackson, and even young quarterback Brock Osweiler.
There may not actually be a strong free agent market for Manning, who’s coming off his worst career NFL season in which he completed 198 of 331 throws for 2,249 passing yards, 9 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and a passer rating of 67.9–having battled injury and thus only appearing in 10 games.
That being said, Manning has always been regarded as a fierce competitor, and it’s hard to simply turn off those competitive juices when one’s been so great for so long.
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However, even with his brilliant football mind, one has to wonder whether Manning’s body can physically hold up as a starting NFL quarterback anymore.
He’s battled a number of physical injuries over the past few seasons, and he’s suffered from diminished arm strength due to a combination of both age and injury.
If Manning does indeed return, it would likely be as a stopgap starting quarterback solution for a contending football team for a 1-2 year stint. However, the number of those teams right now are few and far between.
It seems as though nearly everyone in football circles (except for New England Patriots fans) would love to see Manning go out as a champion and ride off into the sunset–completing what was nothing short of a storybook ending for a legendary Hall of Fame career.
Problem is, some of professional sports greatest competitors don’t always know when it’s time to say when and hang them up for good.