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

126 © 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 move on to Spartans


(AP) -- Oregon easily got past South Dakota to open the season. Now the real challenge comes: Michigan State. The No. 3 Ducks host the No. 8 Spartans on Saturday afternoon at Autzen Stadium. More.

Oregon State kicks past Portland State 29-14


(AP) Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion passed for 328 yards and one touchdown and rushed for another score Saturday to pace the Beavers to a 29-14 victory over Portland State. More.

USC CB Shaw: I lied about saving nephew


(AP) Josh Shaw has been an exemplary teammate and a valuable leader at Southern California, earning his fellow Trojans' trust and praise after transferring home to help his family two years ago. More.

Carroll calls penalties disappointing


(AP) Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll says he's disappointed his team has been docked two practices next offseason for excessive physical contact in a minicamp in June. More.

Manning gets fine after taunting Texans safety


(AP) Peyton Manning has been docked a reported $8,268 for taunting Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger in a preseason game last week. More.

Timbers D Paparatto suspended for 1 game by MLS


(AP) Portland Timbers defender Norberto Paparatto has been suspended for a game after elbowing Seattle's Chad Marshall in the back of the head during Sunday's game. More.

Love: I'm 'committed long term' to Cavs


(AP) Kevin Love's phone rang in July and LeBron James asked the All-Star forward if he wanted to play with him in Cleveland. More.

Browns WR Gordon suspended for 2014


(AP) Josh Gordon's wait is over, and so is his 2014 season. Now the star wide receiver's career is in peril. The Browns learned . . . more.