(Reuters) - Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was noncommittal about his NFL future after his team’s playoff loss on Sunday but there was no ambiguity concerning the team’s general manager when it came to the future Hall of Famer.
Broncos General Manager John Elway told reporters on Tuesday he believes the 38-year-old Manning, who led Denver to a Super Bowl berth and three division titles since joining the team in 2012, has another season left in him.
“The bottom line is we want him back and it’s going to come down to what Peyton wants to do,” said Elway, adding that he will give Manning a month consider his plans.
”I did have a great conversation with Peyton (on Monday). We talked about the game. I said, ‘The last thing we’re going to do at this point in time, having been through what you’ve been through, is talk about your future.’
“I told him, ‘Just know how much we want you back, but you need time to get away from this.'”
Manning, a five-time league most valuable player chasing a second Super Bowl title, completed 26 of 46 passes for 211 yards and one touchdown in his team’s 24-13 divisional playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
After the game, when Manning was asked by reporters if he would be back next season, the record-setting quarterback was noncommittal about returning to Denver for a fourth season.
Elway confirmed reports that Manning played Sunday’s game with a thigh injury but did not comment on the severity of it.
“He did have a strain in one quad but he said it felt fine,” said Elway. “Whether he reinjured it during the game or not, I don’t know. I don’t know how much it did affect him or didn’t affect him.”
Elway, who was speaking less than 24 hours after the Broncos parted ways with head coach John Fox, said he wants the team’s next head coach to already have a Super Bowl win on his resume.
Elway said the thing that most hurt about the loss to the Colts was the Broncos did not go down “kicking and screaming.”
He said the team would evaluate every player in the coming days and, with so many players entering free agency, did not rule out wholesale changes, especially on the offensive line.
(This version of the story corrects sixth paragraph to show Manning has five MVPs, not four)
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue