Local: 503.250.1080
    Toll Free: 866.358.1080
| More
National Football League
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions

AP Source: Peyton Manning passes physical

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

By ARNIE STAPLETON

AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Sixty touchdown passes. Fifteen wins. A fifth MVP trophy.

Peyton Manning is more productive than he's ever been, and whether he's deciphering defenses at the line of scrimmage on game day or on his iPad during the week, his love for the game hasn't waned.

The final piece of evidence that Manning is as good as ever came Monday.

As expected, Manning passed the exam on his surgically repaired neck that was required by his contract with the Broncos that will pay him $20 million next season, according to a person with knowledge of the results. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because results of medical checkups typically aren't announced.

Manning has said that if doctors tell him he's at risk physically, he'd have no problem calling it a career.

After his four neck procedures, including a spinal fusion that sidelined him for all of 2011 and eventually led to his release from Indianapolis, Manning has said he has steeled himself for that possibility.

At the Super Bowl last month, he talked about how his older brother, Cooper, had to give up football after neck surgeries in high school and college, and how that had a big impact on his life.

"I remember at the time, when Cooper got injured, they did a test on me and Eli. I would have been a junior in high school and Eli would have been a sixth-grader, or something. They said our necks weren't picture perfect and didn't look ideal, but they're stable enough to keep playing football. Cooper had to give up playing football. In some ways, when I had my neck problems, I thought maybe I had been on borrowed time this entire time," Manning said. "I was fortunate to have 20 years of health to play football. If that was going to be the end of it because of a neck injury, I really, believe it or not, had a peace about it."

Once doctors told him his neck was secure, however, Manning said he quickly shifted his focus to seeing if he could strengthen his weakened throwing arm to the point where he could be productive again.

After the Colts released him, Manning signed a five-year, $96 million deal in Denver, where he's thrown for 100 TDs, including the playoffs, while going 28-7 with two AFC titles.

Manning won his fifth MVP award in 2013, when he set single-season records by passing for 5,547 yards and 55 TDs while guiding the Broncos, the highest-scoring team in NFL history, to their first Super Bowl in 15 seasons.

Manning, who will be 38 next season, said during Super Bowl week that he had no intention of retiring after the Super Bowl.

Although Manning's plans for 2014 became a big story line in the playoffs, the Broncos front office had proceeded as though their quarterback would be returning for another run at a title. Although his deal with Denver requires him to pass a physical every spring to make sure his neck is OK, if there were any concerns about his neck, he wouldn't have started all 16 games, plus three more in the playoffs.

Not only is Manning still performing at his peak level, he said he still enjoys everything that goes into getting ready to play on game days and "when you still enjoy the preparation, I think you probably still ought to be doing that," he said at the Super Bowl.

He passed his required exit physical that all players take in the days following the Broncos' Super Bowl loss to Seattle. He then played in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament just days later, another indication that his neck is fine.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Updated March 3, 2014

w4 © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

The Fan's Top Stories

Ducks RB Tyner ready for his closeup


(AP) No more rookie excuses for Thomas Tyner. Oregon's sophomore running back is ready to live up to the expectations that were heaped on him when he joined the Ducks . . . more.

offense sharp as Eagles beat Steelers


(AP) This was more like last year's Eagles. Nick Foles threw one touchdown pass and led Philadelphia's starting offense to three first-half scores in a 31-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers . . . more.

Oregon State's Gwacham goes from WR to DE


(AP) Obum Gwacham wants one more chance to make an impact at Oregon State. Having struggled at wide receiver his entire college career, the 6-foot-5 senior is switching . . . more.

Eagles acquire Kenjon Barner from Panthers


(AP) The Philadelphia Eagles have acquired running back Kenjon Barner from the Carolina Panthers for a conditional seventh-round draft choice in 2015. More.

Jim Kelly's follow-up exam shows no sign of cancer


(AP) Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly received encouraging news in his battle with cancer. An initial physical exam showed no evidence of sinus cancer three months after the former Buffalo Bills quarterback . . . more.

C Grasu is the anchor of Oregon's offense


(AP) Oregon senior center Hroniss Grasu never would have played football if his parents had their way. Steve and Mariana Grasu, immigrants from Romania . . . more.

Browns name Hoyer starter over Manziel


(AP) Brian Hoyer barely held on to the starting job. Johnny Manziel may have let it slip off his finger. Hoyer will open the season . . . more.

Buckeyes QB Miller out for season


(AP) Ohio State says quarterback Braxton Miller will miss the 2014 season after reinjuring his throwing shoulder. More.

Durant: Leaving US tough, needed break


(AP) While Kevin Durant takes a step back, the U.S. national team is moving forward. Durant stunned the Americans when he decided to withdraw after . . . more.