Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 3/21/12

Englewood, CO (Sports Network) - Peyton Manning is officially a member of the Denver Broncos.

The four-time MVP and future Hall of Fame quarterback signed with the Broncos on Tuesday, less than two weeks after being released by the Indianapolis Colts.

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my playing career with the Denver Broncos," Manning said at an afternoon press conference.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Denver Post reported it was for five years and $96 million, with a first-year payout of $18 million guaranteed.

"Peyton's one of the best ever to play this game and I feel very fortunate to have him here," Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said. "Our goal has always been to win Super Bowls and Peyton gives us a chance to win another World Championship."

Manning will wear No. 18, which had been worn by Denver's first quarterback, Frank Tripucka, and later retired by the team

"In talking to Frank Tripucka, I feel he really wants me to wear his number. It was a very humbling conversation," said Manning. "I'm honored."

Manning, who turns 36 on Saturday, was solicited by John Elway, the executive vice president of football relations and legendary Broncos quarterback who won back-to-back Super Bowls during the late 1990s.

"I'm seeing [Elway] as a leader of a franchise. I really liked what he had to say. Everybody knows what type of competitor he is," Manning said.

The Broncos were considered one of three finalists in the Manning sweepstakes along with the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans. He worked out for all three teams last week.

Denver was the first place Manning visited after being released by the Colts and the Broncos also went to see him throw at Duke University last week.

The Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals also met with Manning, who missed every game of his 14th NFL season while recovering from a neck injury that required several surgeries.

Elway isn't concerned about Manning's health and said he has "no doubt" that Manning can get back to being the quarterback of old.

Manning's neck problems left the Colts a shell of their former selves and they went on to finish 2-14, landing them the first pick in the NFL Draft. With Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck considered a can't-miss prospect, the Colts elected to clean house.

Bill Polian, the man who selected Manning with the first overall pick of the 1998 draft, was the first to go in Indianapolis. Coach Jim Caldwell soon followed and finally Manning -- buoyed by owner Jim Irsay's decision not to pay a $28 million roster bonus -- on March 7.

The suitors for Manning's first foray into free agency weren't numerous, but Denver was there from the start.

Despite Elway's pronouncement of Tim Tebow as Denver's starting quarterback entering training camp, the lure of landing a four-time MVP was probably too great.

Tebow helped the Broncos capture the AFC West last season at 8-8 and also won a playoff game against Pittsburgh with an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime, but his unconventional style was always a question mark.

It appears now that Tebow will be on the trading block. If he remains with the Broncos, Manning said he's ready to work with the third-year quarterback.

"If Tim Tebow is here next year I'm going to be the best teammate I can for him and we're going to help this team win games," Manning said.

Manning started every game in his first 13 years with the Colts, leading the club to 11 playoff appearances and a Super Bowl title after the 2006 season.

The 11-time Pro Bowl selection has passed for 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns in 208 regular-season games.


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