Schefter reported the injury happened during Denver’s Week 15 win against the San Diego Chargers. Sources close to the situation also indicated Manning did what he could to “conceal” the severity of the injury, though the organization knew.
After the game, Manning, who’d previously stated he’d return to Denver if the Broncos wanted him back in 2015, would not give a definitive answer about his future.
“Uh, yeah, I guess I just can’t give that simple answer,” Manning told reporters when asked if he would guarantee a return. “I’m processing it. I can’t say that. I could not say that.”
Manning threw for 4,727 yards and 39 touchdowns during the regular season but was clearly not the same player down the stretch. He threw for just four touchdowns against six interceptions in Denver’s final five games (including playoffs) and seemed to struggle more when tasked with an increased workload. The Broncos were able to mitigate the effect of Manning’s injury by using C.J. Anderson and the running game, but Sunday’s loss confirmed Manning wasn’t physically capable of being effective when needed.
It’ll be interesting to see whether the quad injury winds up finishing Manning’s career. There have been no reports on whether Manning plans to have surgery or allow the injury to heal on its own. With the ongoing concerns about his neck and now his leg, it’s very possible we’ve seen the last of arguably the greatest quarterback in history.