The Broncos gave Peyton Manning time to consider his future, and the quarterback will continue to take it.
After receiving the Bart Starr Award at a breakfast in Phoenix on Friday, Manning said he hasn't decided whether to return for a fourth Broncos season and 18th in the NFL, although he doesn't want to dither.
"I'm not interested in making this a lingering thing; I'd like to make a decision soon," Manning said Friday morning. "At the same time, both Coach [Gary Kubiak] and [President/CEO] Joe [Ellis] and [Executive Vice President/General Manager] John [Elway] have instructed me to take some time, so I'm kind of following their orders."
Manning has time, but not an unlimited quantity of it. If he is still on the roster March 9, his salary becomes guaranteed.
"They are not in a rush to have an answer. Although, like I said, I don't see this thing lingering continuing for a long time," Manning said. "I'm not into anything dramatic. But I do kind of follow in their order to take some time and gather some information to continue kind of an overall assessment and hopefully that leads me to answer. Hopefully pretty quickly."
Manning added he met with Kubiak this week, but league rules prohibit discussion about schemes and installation, limiting the scope of the chat to getting-to-know-you conversation.
"We had dinner and you eat and you sit in silence for a little bit until you think about what you're allowed to talk about," Manning said. "But I did enjoy getting to know him, a little bit about his family and his history and sharing a little bit of mine with him. I look forward to doing that again."
But the quarterback had no concerns about whether he could fit into Kubiak's scheme, which typically involves more work under center and more mobility.
"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. "So I don't see that being really a factor."
And Kubiak indicated at his introductory press conference that a future working relationship would not revolve simply upon Manning learning the style of offense Kubiak has honed since he first became the Broncos' offensive coordinator in 1995.
"Look what he continues to do," Kubiak said Jan. 20. "The offense Peyton runs, he's tremendous at it, back there in the (shot)gun controlling the game, controlling the line of scrimmage. Nobody has ever done it better and he's the master at it.
"Actually, I'm looking forward to learning that style and that system that he has."
Beyond scheme, the other question with Manning is about his health. He tore a quadriceps muscle against the Chargers on Dec. 14 and played three and half games with it, and has played three consecutive seasons without missing a start since undergoing multiple neck surgeries.
"I'm taking some time to assess some things and to see," he said. "Of course I think that's something that's important to me is not whether I can physically do it for myself, [but] can I physically do it to help the team?
"I've always wanted to be part of the solution to helping and never a problem. Never a limiting factor for the team so I want to be able to look Coach Kubiak and John Elway and Joe Ellis in the eye and say, 'Physically, I honestly feel that I can contribute and help.'
"It's one thing to play and have a uniform and be on the roster. It's another thing to truly be able to contribute and help. That's the only way I've ever known to play football."
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