When former Broncos quarterback and franchise executive director John Elway approached 36-year-old Peyton Manning about playing for Denver in March, the pair of Super Bowl champions seemed to hit it off. Manning had just spent the entirety of the 2011–12 season — his 14th with the Indianapolis Colts — on the bench due to a severe neck injury. Despite the fact that he signed a five-year, $90 million contract extension with Indianapolis, the Colts announced in March that they were releasing Manning from their roster. Over the course of two weeks, the Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos all seriously courted Manning. But it was his connection with Elway that persuaded him to finish his storied career in the Mile High City. Critics claimed that Manning’s injury would impair his athletic performance, but so far he has proven them wrong. While the Broncos were handed some tough losses early in the season, the team found its stride and led the AFC West.
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