The Peyton Manning retirement rumors have been flying, with the latest news that Manning’s future beyond this season will depend on the results of an exam during the offseason on his surgically repaired neck.
Manning will undergo the exam in March, as mandated by his contract, sources told ESPN.
Manning, considered one of the best quarterbacks of this era, has set several records this season, including for passing yards and touchdowns.
But if there is an increased risk of injury found in the exam, Manning may retire, the unidentified sources said. ESPN claims that the sources are “familiar with the star quarterback’s mindset.”
If the exam reveals that his neck is stable, though, Manning plans to return for at least another year.
Manning, 37, fueled retirement rumors when he said last week that “The light is at the end of the tunnel for me, no question.”
His decision won’t be impacted by whether the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl or now, the sources said.
Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 after missing the entire 2011 season following the neck surgery.
He told NBC back in August that winning the Super Bowl before retirement isn’t a priority.
”I really have no idea how much longer I’ll play,” he said. “In the 2011 season, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to play again. I had a very strange injury. I had different doctors that just couldn’t give me any type of definite timetable or any guarantee, and when you’re dealing with nerves in an injury, it’s just so unpredictable.”
He added: “I want to play as long as I’m still a productive player, as long as I can still help a team, and as long as I still enjoy it,” Manning said. “I don’t think it’s about enjoying the games, it’s about do you enjoy practice? Do you enjoy meetings? I’ve heard guys that retire, they just say they dreaded going to meetings, they dreaded going to a walk-through. If it’s just so miserable, then you probably should stop. But I still enjoy the preparation. I still enjoy the practice. I enjoy getting to work with other great football players. And as long as I can still be effective, I’m going to keep playing.”