(Reuters) - Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway said on Thursday he expects Peyton Manning to return next season and predicted the quarterback would thrive in the team’s new offensive system.
Elway, speaking to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, said he had not been given a “definitive answer” from Manning but had spoken with the five-time NFL most valuable player after his post-season physical examination.
“I believe he will be back and I believe he will be our quarterback next year,” said Elway, adding that Manning was pleased by the examination results and felt good.
Manning, who led the Broncos to a Super Bowl berth and three division titles since joining the team in 2012, has been non-committal about his future plans since losing in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs last month.
Manning, who turns 39 in March, threw for 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season in leading Denver to the AFC West division title with a 12-4 record.
According to Elway, new head coach Gary Kubiak’s system, which tries to balance the passing game with a sound running attack, could help Manning crown his Hall of Fame career.
“I do believe it’s a very helpful offense and that Peyton can fit very easily into it,” said Elway, who told Manning that adding another Super Bowl title to his 2007 triumph with Indianapolis would properly cap his long list of achievements.
“You don’t need to throw for another yard, you don’t need to throw another touchdown pass. Where he can really add to his legacy is to win another Super Bowl.”
Elway won Super Bowl titles in the last two seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Broncos using a similar system as the one run by Kubiak.
“It’s a lot more dependent on balance, so therefore Peyton is not going to have to throw the ball 50, 55 times,” he said. “For an older quarterback it’s a perfect system to be in.”
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue