For the first time all Super Bowl week — and surely not the last time — Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was asked Sunday about his future beyond the upcoming NFL title game against the Seahawks.
Manning smiled as he was asked if he had considered whether Super Bowl XLVIII could be the end of the line for him — and whether a victory would be an ideal way to go out on top.
Here was Manning’s response:
“Well, I know there’s a number of players that have walked away as champions, and I’m sure that’s a great feeling for those people. John Elway, Ray Lewis did it last year, Michael Strahan.
“In talking to Ray Lewis and in talking to John Elway, they couldn’t play anymore. That was all they had to give. They truly left it all out there.
“I certainly had a career change two years ago with my injury, with changing teams, and so I truly have been kind of a one-year-at-a-time basis. So I really have no plans beyond this game, had no plans coming into this season beyond this year. I think that’s the healthy way to approach kind of your career at this stage.
“I still enjoy playing football. I feel a little better than I thought I would at this point coming off that surgery. I still enjoy the preparation part of it, the work part of it. Everybody enjoys the games, everybody’s going to be excited to play in a Super Bowl, but I think when you still enjoy the preparation and the work part of it, I think you probably still ought to be doing that.
“I think as soon as I stop enjoying it, if I can’t produce, if I can’t help the team, that’s when I’ll stop playing. If that’s next year, maybe it is. But I certainly want to continue to keep playing.”