ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — A person with knowledge of the meeting tells The Associated Press that Peyton Manning huddled with Broncos general manager John Elway on Thursday to talk about his future in football. No decision was announced on whether Manning would return in 2015 or retire.
Speaking to The AP on condition of anonymity because the meeting wasn't public, the person confirmed the meeting at the team's suburban Denver headquarters that was first reported by the Denver Post on Thursday night.
Pro Bowl running back C.J. Anderson was thrilled to hear about the meeting but tempered his enthusiasm by saying Manning still deserves to have some space as he ponders whether to return or retire.
"I think we should all still let him take his time to make up his mind. He's going to be 39 next month and there's more to just coming back and playing football. There's practicing, there's studying, there's grinding through the season and he's seeing if he still wants to do all that," Anderson said at halftime of a college basketball game between his alma mater, Cal, and Colorado.
"But the fact that he met with Mr. Elway shows he's interested in coming back," Anderson added. "At the end of the day, it's a step in the right direction."
Manning has been mulling his future since the Broncos were bounced from the playoffs by his old team, the Indianapolis Colts, last month.
Elway told Manning he wanted him back and asked him not to make a rash decision.
Manning said at the Super Bowl he planned to talk with Elway and team president Joe Ellis before making up his mind whether to return for an 18th season in the NFL, fourth in Denver and first with new head coach Gary Kubiak.
Kubiak, who met with Manning late last month, has said he would fit his West Coast offense to capitalize on Manning's style of play.
Manning flew to Denver from New Orleans, where he's been working out with a personal trainer to ascertain his fitness. Manning would have to pass a physical before March 5 if he decides to return. He is due $19 million next season, which becomes guaranteed if he's on the roster March 9.
The league's only five-time MVP has taken an annual physical to judge the stability of his surgically repaired neck ever since joining the Broncos in 2012 following his tearful release by the Colts. He missed all of 2011 after a series of spinal fusion surgeries.
Manning's 39 touchdown passes last season were one shy of league leader Andrew Luck, but Manning slumped down the stretch when he was bothered by an injured right thigh, which he strained Dec. 14 at San Diego.