ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** After ending the season facing uncertainty, the Broncos have announced that Peyton Manning will return to the Broncos for his 18th NFL season.
Manning is coming off his second-best season in terms of passing yards (4,727) and third-best in passing touchdowns (39) in his career. In his years with the Broncos, Manning has totaled 132 touchdowns (131 passing, one rushing) and 14,863 passing yards and an average passer rating of 107.8.
This will be his fourth season with the Broncos. Denver has gone 38-10 in those three years in the regular season with Manning under center, with two seasons of winning 13 games and one with 12 wins. In those years, Manning has helped the Broncos win three consecutive AFC West titles and one AFC Championship.
"I've been working real hard and I'm excited to be back with the Denver Broncos," Manning told the Denver Post. "Can't wait for April 13 to get here when the team can finally come together. I'm excited to get to work and get to know the new coaches and looking forward to trying to make 2015 a special year."
As he said in previous weeks, Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway wanted to see Manning return.
"[We're] glad that we could move on and that Peyton's going to be a part of this team and hopefully win a championship next year," Elway said on Thursday. "...we've got to put the best football team together we possibly can, so we're glad that Peyton's going to be a part of that."
The five-time MVP and 14-time Pro Bowler finished this past season while fighting a thigh injury, which left his return in question.
Given time to think about his decision after the season's end fell into the rearview mirror, Manning said he wanted to return to the Broncos and Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway echoed that sentiment on his end.
As days and weeks following the last game of the season, major changes came to pass. With the hiring of Gary Kubiak as the Broncos' new head coach, questions were raised about Manning's fit in his offense, but have since been quelled by words from the head coach, the GM and legendary two-time Super Bowl quarterback who played in his offense and from the current quarterback, himself.
"If I choose to come back, I feel pretty comfortable—aside maybe from Tubby Raymond's Delaware Blue Hen Wing-T offense—I feel pretty comfortable playing in any offense. I really do,"Manning said in January.
Now Manning returns as a piece of a puzzle on offense that will look different than we've seen in past years. That's an offense that had six Pro Bowlers last season, including him. Obviously, there are still decisions and negotiations to be made for other free agents, but Peyton Manning returning answers one of the bigger questions as the Broncos get ready to begin free agency.
Relive Peyton Manning's career thus far through our collection of photos from his first year