Broncos arrive in New Jersey; Manning to return in 2014
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning cleared up any confusion about his plans for next season by saying on Sunday he plans to play in 2014.
Manning made his comments shortly after the team arrived at Newark Airport Sunday afternoon.
Manning and coach John Fox then participated in the week's first press conference, which took place the Cornucopia Majesty, a luxury cruise ship docked outside of the team's hotel, the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City.
The Seattle Seahawks were scheduled to arrive later Sunday.
Manning addressed what he plans to do following next Sunday's Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
"A number of players have walked away as champions," Manning said. "I'm sure that's a great feeling for those people. John Elway. Ray Lewis did it last year. Michael Strahan.
"Talking to Ray Lewis and talking to John Elway, they couldn't play any more (physically). That was all they had to give. They truly left it all out there.
"I still enjoy playing football. I feel a little better than I thought I would at this point coming off that (neck fusion) surgery. I still enjoy the preparation part of it, the work part of it. Everybody enjoys the game. Everybody is going to be excited to play in the Super Bowl.
"I think when you still enjoy the preparation, the work part of it, I think you sought to be still doing that. When I stop enjoying it, when I can't produce, when I can't help the team that's when I'll stop playing. If that's next year, maybe it is. I certainly want to continue to keep playing."
So Manning is coming back for the 214 season, when he is guaranteed $20 million, according to the Denver Post. He then has two more years on his Broncos' contract, although his $19 million salaries in 2015 and 2016 are not guaranteed.
The team's long day began with a 9 a.m. bus ride to the airport.
"No doubt, it has been a journey," Fox said of the season. "There's no doubt this team has been through a lot and a lot of injuries. I even went away for a month. It has been a pretty tough-mindset football team and we're excited about this opportunity."
The Seahawks rank No. 1 in the NFL in fewest points and yards allowed this season, so it will offer a challenge to Manning and the Broncos.
"Looking at their defense, they are as good as advertised," Manning said. "What's probably one of the more impressive things is how well they play together as a unit. You see them communicating out there on the field and safeties talking to each other, linebackers talking to the corners, that's not always true for every single defense. It's a big part of their success. You combine that with just a lot of talent out there on the defensive side of the ball and to me, that's why they're such a good defense."
The weather also figures to be a factor for an outdoor game in early February in northern New Jersey.
"Obviously the elements are something that is part of the strategy," Fox said. "To be a championship football team, you have to be weatherproof. Our football team played in all different elements this year. I feel comfortable where we're at as far as it goes with the elements."
Manning has not always had success in cold weather, but said he "feels comfortable" with the conditions expected next Sunday.
This press conference was the Broncos' first taste of the media barrage they will encounter in the days leading up to Sunday's game.
"I don't believe there's a thing called distraction," linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. "When you work as hard as we worked to get to this point where you always wanted to be here as a little kid, this moment right now, you have to live in it and you can't let anything distract you."
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