Peyton Manning chose the Denver Broncos for a number of reasons. But Head Coach John Fox isn’t looking past one of the biggest reasons — Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway.
“He’s definitely a legend here — he’s a legend in the NFL, but I look at his success,” Fox said of Elway. “The guy has been a winner in everything he’s done, both on and off the field. He’s extremely smart. A lot of people weren’t sure because of his lack of experience in an executive role, but I think he’s done a tremendous job, and I’m sure (he) was helpful in getting Peyton.”
Manning admitted as much during his introductory press conference, citing Elway along with Fox and Owner/CEO Pat Bowlen as determining factors.
“Certainly I have had a relationship with John and it goes back a long way, but I’ve seen John now in a different role,” he said of Elway. “I’ve always seen him as a quarterback, never had to play against him, but that’s always the role I saw him as. Now I’ve seen him as a leader of a franchise and I really like what he had to say.
“Everyone knows what kind of competitor he is as a player, and I can tell he is just as competitive in this new role. That got me excited, I know he’s going to do everything he can do to help this franchise win and it certainly helps with leadership at the top in Mr. Bowlen. Coach Fox is a guy I have known a long time. I know he’s hungry to win. I’m just looking forward to being a part of that.”
In his new role, Elway said he’s harkening back to what former Head Coach Mike Shanahan did for him late in his career and looking to do the same for Manning — “give him the best opportunity to be successful.”
That parallel wasn’t lost on Manning.
“I think certainly John knows what it’s like to play quarterback at the ages of 35 and 36, and so certainly that helps.”
Now the two quarterbacks are under one roof, and Elway said he can’t wait to help Manning see similar success late in his career.
“I just know he is going to play great football,” Elway said. “That is when I played my best football, the older I got. (When I was) 37 and 38 were the two best years we had in my career.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
As of his introductory press conference, Manning hadn’t met many of his new Broncos teammates. But he’s getting there.
“I met Eric Decker on my visit,” Manning said, cracking a smile. “Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey have been blowing up my phone — hopefully that will die down a little bit and I can get to know them in person.”
As for his new receivers, he’s excited to get to work.
“They’re young and talented,” he said. “I’ve played with guys that age before. I can tell by watching these guys on tape that they love football. They’re excited about it. That’s all rewarding to me, getting on the same page with these receivers in the offseason and seeing that come together on the playing field. I look forward to that part of it, getting together and talking football. These guys are going to have to help me too. I will lean on them. I’m the new guy here.”
Manning agreed that Demaryius Thomas is likely the tallest receiver he’s ever thrown to, which is “new and exciting.”
“He’s big,” Manning smiled. “The guy’s got a ton of talent and a ton of potential. I’m looking forward to helping him. I’m looking forward to having him help me as well.”
Will he throw with them during the offseason?
“Certainly, the rules have changed in terms of what you’re allowed to do in the NFL, so I sort of need to get some clarity on that. But I’m going to do whatever I can to get with these guys and talk with these guys.”
“The sooner we can get started on that, the better.”