After 14 NFL seasons, 436 touchdowns, and one Super Bowl championship, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has had to think about life after football at some point. With the violent nature of the game and the four different neck surgeries Manning has had to go under it would only be logical to think that even as great as he is, the future Hall of Famer’s time in the league is coming to an end.
Manning sat down with Erik Kuselias of NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk, and shared his thoughts on just when his playing days could actually come to an end. If you look closely, sounds like 18 is ready for at least a few more years.
”I really have no idea how much longer I’ll play,” Manning said. “In the 2011 season, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to play again. I had a very strange injury. I had different doctors that just couldn’t give me any type of definite timetable or any guarantee, and when you’re dealing with nerves in an injury, it’s just so unpredictable.”
“I want to play, Erik, as long as I’m still a productive player, as long as I can still help a team, and as long as I still enjoy it,” Manning continued. “I don’t think it’s about enjoying the games, it’s about do you enjoy practice? Do you enjoy meetings? I’ve heard guys that retire, they just say they dreaded going to meetings, they dreaded going to a walk-through.
“If it’s just so miserable, then you probably should stop. But I still enjoy the preparation. I still enjoy the practice. I enjoy getting to work with other great football players. And as long as I can still be effective, I’m going to keep playing.”
Wildly known for his off the field preparation and work ethic, I think that Peyton can be a high-end quarterback in the game for as long as he chooses to be. His calling card never being predicated on athleticism, as long as the Broncos can keep him upright I think Manning gives you a shot at the Super Bowl and 10 wins every year. It’s why players like Tom Brady have gone on record stating they want to play past the age of 50.
At age 37, Manning might not make it to 50. But with the same preparation and hard work that have made him one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time already, he can most certainly squeeze out a few more seasons before riding into the sunset. If I’m a Broncos fan, I’m hoping he has at least one or two more rings on his fingers before he does.