Peyton Manning will be the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in the forthcoming NFL playoffs, coach Gary Kubiak confirmed on Thursday.
Manning’s return to the limelight has given rise to speculation: Will the 39-year-old retire at the end of the season? “I’d be lying to say I’ve never thought (about it). … That’s probably not the case,” the five-time MVP conceded on Thursday. “But I am excited to think about who were going to play (next) weekend and have the opportunity to help contribute in some way,” added Manning.
The Broncos, who clinched the AFC West with a 12-4 record, have acknowledged that Brock Osweiler is the quarterback of the future. However, Manning’s veteran instincts and playoff experience is sure to help the Broncos make a deep run this postseason.
Manning missed six consecutive starts due to a tear in his plantar fascia near his left heel. When Manning was out with injury, Osweiler stepped up admirably and led Broncos to a 4-2 record including the impressive 30-24 overtime victory against New England Patriots on November 30.
During last Sunday’s regular season finale, Manning came off the bench and led Denver on four scoring dives during a 27-20 victory. Coach Kubiak had seen enough to insert Manning back into the starting unit. “Looking forward to Peyton leading our football team, (we) feel very good about that. (This is) best for our football team, but I also know Brock will be ready to play,” Kubaik said Thursday.
Osweiler, who has a bright future ahead of him, is more than happy to take a backseat. “It’s a bit of a disappointment (to lose the starting role). It’s hard to hear you’re not going to be the one playing…. However, I’m a big team player. You’re going to see the same exact guy out of me that you’ve seen, you know, the whole season. Bottom line: I just care about this football team winning games. And if Coach thinks Peyton gives the team the best chance, then I fully support that,” said the young QB.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos will begin their postseason on January 18.