Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning's coach during his time with the Indianapolis Colts, believes that the quarterback will return to the Denver Broncos next year after a season-ending playoff loss on Sunday, Dungy told the Dan Patrick Show on Monday morning.
Manning struggled to move the Denver offense throughout the game, and the Broncos lost to the Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts, 24-13.
Dungy said that he believed Manning's competitive spirit would led him to return to the Broncos for the 2015 season.
"I know how competitive he is and I know he's not going to want to go out with a loss. But we'll see what happens… I wouldn't be surprised (if he retires), but my guess is he's going to come back. I don't think he'll want to finish with a game like that."
Dungy added that he would tell the five-time MVP to continue playing as long as he was physically able, and noted that the loss on Sunday was similar to Denver's loss to the Seattle Seahawks in last year's Super Bowl.
Dungy believed that Manning's poor performance in recent weeks was due to nagging injuries.
"He definitely played differently in the last quarter of the season than the first three quarters, the deep balls, they were off target," Dungy said. "Whether it was that's the way life is now or whether it was an accumulation of some injuries, we won't know and he's certainly not going to say."
"I don't think that game, yesterday, was that much different than the Super Bowl game, and he came back and was able to have a strong year, but we'll see what happens. We're not going to know right away and the Broncos aren't going to know."
Manning, 38, has been in the league for 17 years. After being drafted by the Colts in 1998, he left the team in 2010 and joined the Broncos in 2012.
He has a career 65.5 completion percentage, throwing for 69,691 yards and a career 97.5 passer rating. His 530 touchdown passes make him the league's all-time leader.
- Josh Sanchez