SAN JOSE, Calif. — John Elway realizes as well as anyone just how difficult a decision it is for an elite quarterback to retire, and he has no plans of putting pressure on Peyton Manning to make up his mind right away.
Still, the Denver Broncos are going to do whatever they can to keep backup Brock Osweiler around, too, and not lose him in free agency.
"It’s one that is going to change his life, whether it be this year, next year or the year after." Elway, the franchise’s general manager and vice-president said from his seat in the stands at Monday’s Super Bowl media night. "It’s always a hard decision. We’ll give him plenty of time. … Bottom line is Peyton’s going to make the best decision for him."
Elway said that no matter what Manning decides, Osweiler is in the plans going forward. He started seven games this season for the AFC champions as Manning struggled while dealing with a foot injury, passing for 1,967 yards and 10 touchdowns with an 86.4 quarterback rating.
"We’re hoping to get something done with Brock this off-season," Elway said. "Obviously Brock is a guy that came in and played very well for us this year. We wouldn’t be here without him. We needed both quarterbacks. We wouldn’t be here without both of them."
Deciding between two talented quarterbacks is a great problem to have.
Manning didn’t offer any hints Monday night.
"I haven’t made my mind up and I don’t see myself knowing that until after the season’s over," the five-time MVP said.
Even Elway struggled to make the final call to walk away for good — yet he won’t begin to compare the circumstances of his own farewell to Manning’s situation at this stage.
Elway went out a Super Bowl winner and Super Bowl MVP after the 1998 season with a win against Atlanta, but still ran his retirement thoughts by his father as a sounding board. Elway said "it was very nice to have" the positive memories of going out on top.
"I was 95 per cent there, but then it still took me a long time to get that last 5 per cent, because it’s a big decision and something that you’ve done your whole life and now you’re not going to be able to do it anymore," Elway said. "Whether it’s 80 per cent of 95 per cent, whatever that last step is — however big it is — is always really hard."