More and more, it sounds like Peyton Manning wants to continue his NFL career.
This goes against a report over the weekend that suggested he would retire and do so this week.
"In a perfect world he'd like to keep playing. Question is who gives him an opportunity." @AdamSchefter on Peyton https://t.co/YjfgI1GpYd— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 1, 2016
If the recent report is true, and the latest is from Adam Schefter of ESPN, that means John Elway and the Denver Broncos have a decision to make. And it's not a difficult one. The deadline for any decision from the Broncos is March 9. That's when all of Manning's salary becomes guaranteed for the 2016 season.
The other interesting date to note is Friday. According to Manning's salary, before any money is guaranteed, he must first pass a physical at least five days before the start of the league year. That date is March 9 and puts the five days at Friday.
If Manning, who turns 40 this month, decides not to ride off into the sunset and play again, his next rodeo will not be in Denver. With the near $20 million hit to the salary cap and the injury challenges he's had the last two seasons, it makes no sense for Elway and the Broncos to keep him. Back to Friday: Would Denver fail Manning in the physical and then cut him afterwards? That would end the speculation and everyone could move on.
If Schefter knows it, Elway and the Broncos know it. With a situation like this, teams have to prepare for every scenario. They can hope a player will make a certain decision, but it's ultimately up to the player. It's a business for the player as much as the organization.
Sentiment has no part in it.
Leaving the game for good is not as easy as we think https://t.co/Pja64cXS5q pic.twitter.com/k6lYDIH7DA— L.Lattimore-Volkmann (@docllv) February 29, 2016
No doubt most want Manning to follow in the footsteps of Elway and end his career with a Super Bowl win, but only one person can make that decision. And as fellow MHR writer Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann said on Monday, walking away is not as easy as one thinks. Even Elway said the first 99 percent of the decision to retire is the easy part, the most difficult is the last one percent.
Seeing Manning in a Broncos jersey in 2012 was a strange sight.
It will be even more bizarre to potentially see him in a different uniform come 2016.