Peyton Manning has insisted he is ready to bounce back from a shocking end to last season and help the Denver Broncos put their Super Bowl humiliation firmly behind them. There had been many who believed Manning was set to retire after Super Bowl XLVIII after the quarterback admitted he could see the “light at the end of the tunnel” of his playing career, but the 13-time Pro Bowler has come out fighting in his first interview since the Super Bowl.
With odds of around 6/1, Denver will begin the new season widely tipped to reach a second successive Super Bowl, but a lot will depend on whether their star quarterback can rebound from last season’s disappointments. Manning may not have been the only Broncos player who failed to play anywhere near their best in the Super Bowl defeat to the Seahawks, but the quarterback came away from the game shouldering the majority of the blame.
While the 38-year old was widely-criticised for his performance in the Broncos’ 43-8 thumping at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks in last season’s Super Bowl, Manning doesn’t appear to have lost his desire for the game and has insisted he and the rest of the team are determined on leading the Broncos back to the Super Bowl this season.
“Absolutely, that’s what I want to do. That’s what the Denver Broncos want to do. I’m glad to be a part of a team where that’s what they want to do. I want to try to do my best to do my part. Keep myself in good shape and get on the same page with my receivers.”
Despite his below-par showing in the final game of the season, Manning’s sensational form throughout the year showed he is still one of the best quarterbacks still playing in the NFL. Following surgery on a neck injury in early March, Manning has returned to pre-season training and has already begun working with the Broncos receivers ahead of a new campaign.
“I feel that I have a responsibility to the team to be on top of my game, and that’s what I think about every day when I go over there to work and lift weights and throw with my receivers — doing my job to help the Denver Broncos. It’s up to the players to put in the hard work in the weight room, in the film room and on the practice field to try and be a better team this year,” said Manning.
After returning from injury, Manning has linked back up with a Denver squad containing a number of new faces that arrived following the Broncos being given a decent salary-cap position despite their 13-3 record in the past two seasons. Emmanuel Sanders, DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward have all arrived in Denver from the free agency, and there is still a long way to go before the Broncos will have a clear indication of what next season’s final roster will look like.