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John Elway on Peyton Manning: 'We want him back'

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --The Broncos don't need a decision on 2015 from Peyton Manning now -- and Executive Vice President/General Manager John Elway will let him take his time before deciding whether to return for an 18th NFL season.

But Elway made it clear: the Broncos hope to have No. 18 throwing passes again in 2015.

"The bottom line is we want him back and it's going to come down to what Peyton wants to do," Elway said.

The past and present quarterbacks met Monday, and Elway, having been in Manning's shoes, counseled him to pause before committing one way or another.

"I said, 'The last thing we're going to talk about at this point in time -- having been through what you're going through now, Peyton -- we're not going to talk about your future,' because he needs to get away," Elway said. "I knew as a player the last thing after that last game that you want to do is talk about your future.

"… I told him, let's not even go into the future. Just know how much we want you back but you need to take the time and get away from this."

The key date for the Broncos and Manning is the start of the 2015 League Year, on March 10 at 2 p.m. MST. If Manning is on the roster at that point, his salary for the year is guaranteed.

"In four or five weeks we'll get back together and see where he is," Elway said. "because the career that he's had, what he's done not only in the NFL but in the short time he's been here with the Denver Broncos, what he's meant to us is tremendous. So we'll continue to monitor that."

And in turn, Manning will monitor the coaching search. Elway plans to keep him "involved" as the situation develops. But what Manning eventually says about his own future will have far more impact.

"I can't speak for Peyton, and I won't speak for Peyton," Elway said. "I can speak for myself. I think only Peyton knows how his body feels and what's going on within his body. So I think that that is something that people have to deal with and when he goes through his decision, that will be a part of it.

"I think, for me (in 1999), it was the right time for me to go. But I think with Peyton, he'll be the one that knows what's right for him or not."

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