Manning makes light of retirement decision


Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning made a public announcement on Wednesday, but not the one everyone was expecting.

The veteran gave a speech on leadership during a conference in Jacksonville, Florida, but, sensing the audience's curiosity was elsewhere, he opened the floor by addressing the elephant in the room.

"Many of you have probably heard that I have a significant announcement to make, so I thought I'd go ahead and make it with all of you here tonight," Manning said via ESPN, before deadpanning.

"Papa John's is offering 50 percent off tonight through Friday.

"I'm sure that was the response you were looking for."

Not exactly.

Manning, 39, is mulling retirement from the NFL after 18 seasons.

A decision is imminent, with a $19million base salary guarantee set to go into effect on Tuesday, and his choice could come at any time between now and then.

The NFL's all-time passing leader just won a Super Bowl with the Broncos, but the team have their own agenda.

Speculation is Manning could be released if a decision is not made before the deadline, though the front office insists he would be welcomed back should he want to play a 19th season.

The implications most directly impact Brock Osweiler, who filled in admirably when Manning missed seven weeks with an injury last season.

The 25-year-old is set to become a free agent on March 9, and the Broncos are unwilling and/or unable to pay him market rate if Manning is going to be on the roster in 2016, either under his current contract or a more cap-friendly figure in a restructured deal.