Since the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl at the start of the month, many fans and critics alike have been asking the question if Peyton Manning will retire from the NFL after 19 seasons.
It seems like we might be finally edging closer to the answer to that question, according to the Denver Post.
A report by their columnist Woody Paige says Manning "will acknowledge his decision" to retire by the end of the week. Reports have speculated that the quarterback has told his close friends that he has played his last game, but he has not stated his current playing status to the Broncos organisation.
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The Vice President of Public Relations at the Broncos, Patrick Smyth, tweeted out this past weekend that The Sheriff has not told the team his decision on his playing career just yet, but they expect to continue talks with him this week.
He said: "Peyton has not made a decision on his future. Plan remains for him to continue talks with the team this week."
Peyton will have to take a team physical this Friday if he plans to keep on playing, according to Ian Rapoport via NFL.com. Due to the way he played in the regular season in 2015 - only passing for 2,249 yards and nine touchdowns, and throwing 17 interceptions across 10 games - Manning's time in Denver is likely over whether he retires or not.
His contract is simply too much next season, at a base salary of $19 million, for the AFC West franchise to keep him on. His 2016 contract becomes fully guaranteed on March 9, according to Spotrac, so if he does decide to keep on playing, he will likely be cut before that date. There is no other way the Broncos can remove him from their roster as he has a no-trade clause in his deal.
Manning's torn plantar fascia in the middle of the season added fuel to the fire for his retirement, and his talk about this being his 'last rodeo' with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after the AFC Championship game kept that fire burning.
Broncos general manager John Elway has said he isn't pushing The Sheriff to make his decision and that he will talk to him before March 9. He also said the quarterback's decision plays no factor in the contract negotiations with Brock Osweiler, who could potentially become a free agent if he isn't signed to a new deal.
It's difficult to see Denver keeping on Manning, who will turn 40 before the start of next season, and starting him. Nevertheless, if he does decide to retire, he will go down as one of the best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen.