Peyton Manning isn’t just confident that his neck injury is healing and his arm strength is improving to the point where he can play adequately for the Broncos this year. Manning is confident that he’ll be playing at the same level this year as he was in the four seasons when he was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.
Lindsay H. Jones of the Denver Post reports that when Broncos boss John Elway asked if Manning would be the type of quarterback he was during his MVP seasons, Manning didn’t blink.
“There is no doubt in my mind,” Manning replied.
Manning also told Jones he’s confident that it’s completely safe for him to play after four neck procedures put him out for the entire 2011 season, and that if the doctors hadn’t cleared him he would have walked away from football before putting his long-term health on the line.
“If the doctors said, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t go out there,’ that’s it. That’s the end of it,” Manning said. “That’s a short conversation. I’ve kind of asked them to say that. It’s just not the case.”
According to Manning, it’s not just his own doctor who thinks he’s going to be perfectly fine to play football for years to come. He said he was checked out by doctors from the Broncos, Titans and 49ers and that all three team doctors gave him the go-ahead.
“That’s what they tell me. The nice thing is that the doctors of three different teams have told me essentially the same thing,” Manning said.
There aren’t many 36-year-old athletes who can miss a full year of action because of a serious injury and return to perform as well as ever. But there’s no doubt in Manning’s mind that he’s the man to do it.