Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning hadn’t addressed the media since a report emerged (from PFT) that he currently intends to play in 2016, and that he has told teammates he intends to come back for at least one more year. On Wednesday, Manning addressed those reports.
“This is when ‘they’ and ‘sources’ seem to show their heads a little bit,” Manning said via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com, 10 days after the report first surfaced. “I haven’t thought much other than about trying to get healthy. . . . I’m going to try to get healthy so I can try to get back. That’s kind of where my focus is.”
Manning, a brilliant guy who typically communicates his thoughts accurately and completely, left some wiggle room within the words he chose. He said “I haven’t thought much” about things other than trying to get healthy, and that getting himself ready to play is “kind of where my focus is.”
That’s hardly a blanket denial of having a general intention to play next year or of sharing that intention with teammates, and it’s definitely not a declaration that 2015 will be his final season. The two thoughts — getting ready to play now and intending to play next year — remain anything but mutually exclusive.
Besides, the idea that Manning, who has a plan for everything, has no plan whatsoever for 2016 simply isn’t plausible. While it’s likely that he’ll make a final decision about 2016 after the 2015 season ends, it’s reasonable for him to at least have an idea of what he’d like to do in a calendar year that begins in less than a month.
The strong push back from the team and Manning, which was a little surprising at the time, makes sense in hindsight. Both the team and Manning were concerned that the report would be perceived as evidence of a problem between the Broncos and Manning, and as proof of Manning being something other than a good teammate.