Peyton Manning's football future seemed in doubt during the 2011 season, when multiple neck surgeries helped bring an end to his time with the Indianapolis Colts, but after signing on with the Denver Broncos the following offseason, he needed only a few games to return to a high level of production and answer many of the doubts about his ability to recapture his old form.
However, two statistically outstanding seasons later, Manning admits that his arm strength is still not 100 percent following the surgery, and he is still working to improve that.
"I'm not at 100 percent compared to what I was before my surgery,'' Manning said Monday during his appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. "But I have made strides each season and this year felt a lot better than I did the year before. These nerves just go at their own pace."
"You talk about waking up excited every morning at 7 a.m. and then being pretty depressed at about noon every day," Manning said of his return to full strength. "Today's not the day."
Manning at less than 100 percent is still a lot better than most quarterbacks in the league, so the idea that he is still working to regain full strength in his arm should worry opposing defenses.
If Manning can stay healthy over the final years of his professional career, the Broncos can expect multiple opportunities to return to the Super Bowl and close out Manning's playing days with a title. MORE: An introduction to the 2014 NFL draft's most intriguing prospects