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Peyton Manning's return is official; now we can all move on

What was expected all along is finally official - No. 18 is back for his 18th season in the NFL, and fourth for the Denver Broncos. Now we can all start talking about the other 52 least by tomorrow.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

So in case you've been in a bubble the last 48 hours, Peyton Manning is returning, and while many of us figured it was likely to happen - and others vocally hoped it wouldn't - it's great to have all the speculation over so we can officially put "PeytonWatch2015" in the books.

"We're excited it's over and glad that we can move on and glad that Peyton will be part of this team and hopefully win a championship next year," said Broncos' GM John Elway.

If Manning is able to lead the Broncos to its third Super Bowl victory - and his second - he will be taking a record from his boss. Elway currently stands as the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, something he did at age 38.

"I've been working real hard, and I'm excited to be back with the Denver Broncos," Manning told the Denver Post. "Can't wait for April 13 to get here when the team can finally come together. I'm excited to get to work and get to know the new coaches and looking forward to trying to make 2015 a special year."

Manning will be attempting to shatter that as a 39-year-old aiming for a ring this coming season. Despite a lackluster performance the second-half of the 2014 season, the future Hall-of-Famer finished fourth in the NFL for passing yards at more than 4,700 and second in touchdown passes with 39.

Following Manning's physical yesterday morning, the Broncos announced officially what sports reporters had said the day before: the quarterback agreed to a $4 million pay cut with incentives that could give him back all of that - $2 million for making it to the Super Bowl, another $2 million for winning it.

For Elway and new head coach Gary Kubiak, this step with Manning's contract was just among the many in a long line of important off-season moves so far, including putting together a new staff and settling the franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas with hopes of a long-term deal in the future. Now the focus will turn to Free Agency next week and the Draft in May.

Finally! Apparently Elway had Manning Fatigue as well.

"We're just trying to put the pieces together of the puzzle together so that by time we get to August we have the best 90 football players on the field that we possibly can," Elway said Thursday. "There's always a lot of steps in the offseason and Peyton was one step and glad able to get that finished so we can move on."

As for Kubiak, the coach is excited to actually meet with ALL the players and get things off on the right foot.

"Looking forward to getting the football team together and working with all the guys and having a heck of a football team," Kubiak said, noting that day will start April 13. "I know [Manning's] as excited as anyone."

Kubiak also pointed out that that first day will be important for the goal ahead.

"We've got a big challenge ahead of us. We've got ground to make up because we have a new coaching staff," he said. "We've got to have a great program and feel good before taking a break and going into Training Camp."

Cody Latimer 'getting his brag on'

The 2014 rookie wide receiver launched his website and brand this week - - which features his new slogan, "Get your Cody on."

And proceeds this month all go toward the American Cancer Society in honor of Latimer's father, Colby, a former college football player at Bowling Green who died of colon cancer in 2005, and Latimer's aunt who died from the disease last week.

But more importantly, he talked with Mile High Report about his goals for the upcoming year and plans to make a bigger impact in the Manning-led offense.

"I want this year to be a good year," Latimer said. "I've just been grinding. We all just want to get better."

Horse Tracks

Peyton Manning will depend on C.J. Anderson more than ever in '15 - NFL -
To expect vintage Peyton Manning is delusional; if Denver is going to win a Super Bowl, its hopes lie in C.J. Anderson’s hands as much as Peyton's.

Peyton Manning back with Broncos, but storybook Super Bowl ending a long shot - The Washington Post
Manning will have another opportunity to add to his considerable legacy ... but can he seize it?

Peyton Manning passes physical, making return to Broncos official - The Denver Post
Peyton Manning passed his mandatory physical Thursday, making his return to the Broncos in 2015 official, the team announced.

Peyton Manning believes he can contribute to another title run - ESPN
By coming back for an 18th season, Manning shows he believes there's still room for improvement.

Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning find common ground -- the Super Bowl - ESPN
Peyton Manning took a pay cut that he can earn back by winning another Super Bowl.

Broncos fans thrilled that quarterback Peyton Manning is returning - The Denver Post
In the wake of the Broncos' shocking loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC playoffs, no members of the organization were safe from the fans' criticism.

Does Peyton Manning taking a pay cut help his public image? — The Sports Show

How Can Denver Broncos Make the Most of Savings from Peyton Manning Pay Cut? | Bleacher Report
Denver Broncos news, rumors, scores, schedules, predictions, picks against the spread, free agent updates, power rankings, mock drafts and more.

Elway on Manning's return, next steps
Broncos TV talks 1-on-1 with John Elway about Peyton Manning returning to the Broncos in 2015.

Rise & Grind: The golden age of below average NFL quarterbacks -
The race is on for many teams looking to retain their soon-to-be free agents.

Bears trying to trade Brandon Marshall, according to report -
The real question is how likely they are to find a willing taker.

Carson Palmer ready to 'rock 'n' roll' by training camp -
Carson Palmer is confident that he'll be ready to go when the Arizona Cardinals open training camp this summer. Find out what else the quarterback had to say.

Raiders plan to meet with Ndamukong Suh next week -
The courting of Ndamukong Suh is underway. Michael Silver reported Thursday that the Oakland Raiders are planning to bring in the free-agent DT in for a visit next week.

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement -
Maurice Jones-Drew has decided to walk away from the game. The nine-year running back spent eight seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and played last year for the Oakland Raiders.

Chicago Bears must make Jay Cutler decision soon -
A clause in Jay Cutler's contract will force the Bears to make a decision on his future next week. Will Chicago find a trade partner instead?

Vince Wilfork tweets Patriots will not pick up option -
Vince Wilfork's 11-year run with the New England Patriots appears to be coming to an end. The veteran defensive tackle tweeted Thursday morning that the Pats will not pick up his contract option.