Manning, who will turn 39 next month, has reportedly been evaluated by renowned fitness trainer Mackie Shilstone and is expected to begin training with him this week. Shilstone specializes in "career extension" and has worked with several athletes over the years, including Serena Williams, baseball great Ozzie Smith and boxers Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins.
Next season would be Manning's 18th in the NFL. Late last month, Manning said he'd like to make a decision on his return "in the near future." The Denver Post first reported Manning's desire to return to the Broncos on Jan. 21, but indicated that Manning wouldn't decide until after undergoing a physical examination. Manning had multiple neck surgeries before signing with the Broncos in 2012, and he has his neck tested by specialists each offseason to ensure it can withstand another full NFL season.
Manning is hoping to speak with Broncos executive vice president and general manager John Elway in the next couple of days, according to Nola.com. Denver has asked Manning to let the team know his intentions by March 9, one day before teams must exercise their rights on veteran players under contract. Manning is due $19 million over each of the next two seasons, the last of the five-year, $96 million contract he signed with the Broncos in 2012.
Last season, Manning finished fourth in the NFL in passing yards (4,727), second in passing touchdowns (39) and fourth in passer rating (101.5). The 17-year veteran is 2,148 yards shy of breaking the NFL record for most career passing yards currently held by Brett Favre.
"We can win a championship with Peyton. I think that's the only thing that matters," Miller said, according to The Denver Post. "What else can I say? I think he's coming back. He said a long time ago that he would stop playing football when he felt like he was hurting a team more than helping a team. There's still so much he can do, so many wonderful things he can do for the Denver Broncos."
- Mike Fiammetta