By Ian Palmer
The upcoming 2014/15 season will be Manning’s third with the Broncos and his 17th overall in the league. In fact the last two seasons have statistically comprised the best two-year stretch of his long, distinguished career.
Manning excelled last year and was rewarded for his play by taking home the league’s MVP award for the fifth time. He also set new single-season when he gained over 5,500 yards and passed for 55 touchdowns while doing it. His Broncos teammate Manny Ramirez said Manning works as hard as anybody in the game during the offseason as he wants to make sure he’s both mentally and physically prepared for the grueling campaign ahead.
Manning stated that he enjoys all of the preparation and work that go into a new season and it\s something he looks forward to. Denver coach John Fox remarked that Manning is definitely young at heart and he challenges himself each and every new season. Fox also believes Manning looks forward to playing with and adjusting to newcomers on the squad as it keeps his juices flowing. With his current contract expiring at the end of the 2015/16 season, Manning said he definitely plans on playing it out.
And even though he’s not planning on retiring, he still wonders what his life will be like once he walks off the field for the last time. He admitted that he sometimes thinks about all of the things he’d miss if he wasn’t playing NFL football. He said when he’s been out with injuries during his career he really missed being in the huddle in the middle of the field on front of 80,000 fans. He went on to say that when players retire they can enter he management or coaching ranks or can turn to broadcasting, but they’ll never have the chance to be in the middle of a huddle again.
The Broncos have posted a 28-8 mark with Manning at QB for the last two years after sitting out the 2011 season when he was with the Indianapolis Colts. Manning underwent several surgical procedures on his neck and had to learn his release point all over again after his throwing arm was weakened significantly following the operations. That year off seems to have done Manning a world of good as he came back to the league better than ever. He said he realized just how much he loves the game when he was forced to sit out and couldn’t wait to return to action.
Manning said he believes some players retire when they can still physically play the game because they simply become bored with the routine, but that’s certainly not the case with him. He feels he’s a different player since coming back from surgery because he’s had to make a few adjustments to his game. Manning added that he still enjoys everything about football including working with weights and is willing to do whatever it takes to still become a better player even at hi