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Peyton Manning: Denver hopes he's 'comfortable' as NFL preseason kicks off

Peyton Manning debuts in a Broncos uniform Thursday night for an NFL preseason game in Chicago. John Elway says the veteran QB will play 'one or two series.'

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 Elway, for one, says it’s a non-issue: “I’m not afraid about him getting hit. I’m really not,” the former Broncos’ QB said. “Everybody's worried about whether he can take a hit or not,  [but] he wouldn't be on that football field if he couldn't take a hit.”

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Manning, who gets rid of the ball quickly and has made a special skill out of thoroughly confusing opposing defenses, doesn’t get tackled much. So given his limited playing time, it may not happen in tonight’s game, or the next, or the next. But when it does, we’ll have a better sense of what to expect from the Peyton Manning era in Denver.

What else to watch for Thursday night:

• Second-overall draft pick Robert Griffin III will make his NFL debut for the Redskins against the Buffalo Bills. The charismatic Griffin has gotten even more offseason attention than Manning replacement Andrew Luck, and there’s been speculation that the Redskins have been holding their cards close to the chest when it comes to showing off what the quick, super athletic Griffin can really do in training camp. Still, he’s being expected to carry a team that only won five games last year.

• The New Orleans Saints will pay a visit to the perennial Super Bowl favorites New England Patriots – their first outing as they prepare for a season without head coach Sean Peyton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma, suspended for their roles in the defensive bounty scandal earlier this year.

• The Atlanta Falcons host the Baltimore Ravens, the Green Bay Packers visit the San Diego Chargers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers will square off against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tebow will suit up with his new Jets teammates Friday night when they take on the Bengals in Cincinnati.

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