Peyton Manning arrives in Denver, (almost) ready to lead Broncos
Peyton Manning was introduced as the latest Broncos quarterback Tuesday afternoon in Denver. Manning's happy to have Tim Tebow as his teammate, for now.
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It was 14 years ago that Bowlen stood on the podium in San Diego, lifted the franchise's first Super Bowl trophy and proclaimed: "This one's for John."Skip to next paragraph
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But this franchise hasn't been anywhere near what it was since Elway retired a year later with a second title in tow.
His return to the front office last year and set off a whirlwind of activity that landed the Broncos in the playoffs. But Elway is in this to win Super Bowls and he's throwing his hat in with Manning, the 50,000-yard passer who redefined the quarterback position through the 2000s, not Tebow — who seems most comfortable carrying and not throwing the ball.
"Tim Tebow's a great kid. If I want someone to marry my daughter, it's him," Elway said. "Tim is a great football player, but with the opportunity that presented itself here, we had to take advantage of that."
He said no decision has been made on Tebow's future, but he seemed to be preparing the quarterback's fans to say goodbye.
"That's the tough part of this business," Elway said.
Manning, who turns 36 on Saturday, said he made a quick connection with Elway, who won his two Super Bowls in Denver after his 37th birthday. Since No. 7's retirement, a long string of quarterbacks have come to Denver, trying in vain to replace the unreplaceable. If anyone can get out of that shadow, Manning could be the man.
He's got two trips to the Super Bowl and one title, 11 Pro Bowls and was the fastest player to reach 50,000 yards and 4,000 completions.
Long known as a master student of the game, there are hours of highlights available that begin with Manning standing at the line of scrimmage, surveying a defense, checking out of a play — or two — then calling the right one and getting the Colts to the end zone.
It's expected he'll be able to run his kind of offense in Denver, which reverted to an option-style system to maximize Tebow's potential last year.
One other factor in Manning's decision to play outdoors in the Mile High City: The nearly $40 million in salary cap room the Broncos have, putting them in the mix for quality free agents, possibly including Manning's former teammates Jeff Saturday and Dallas Clark.
The status of Manning's neck, however, will be an ongoing issue. It's one thing to throw through the entire route tree on a practice field, which he did to pretty much everyone's satisfaction, quite another to take a blindside hit from a 300-pound defender, which hasn't happened since he was surgically repaired.
Does Elway have a Plan B?
"Plan B? I don't have a Plan B. We're going with Plan A," he said.