Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are treating their visit to Chicago on Thursday night just like any other preseason opener.
Only, it isn't.
This marks the four-time MVP's first game of any sort since Jan. 30, 2011, when he went 2-for-5 for 12 yards and an interception in the AFC's 55-41 loss to the NFC in the Pro Bowl.
Manning missed all of last season with a nerve injury in his neck that weakened his throwing arm and led to his release from Indianapolis, setting off the biggest free agent frenzy in NFL history.
He's looked like the Manning of old ever since landing in Denver. Even on Tuesday, when he had several incompletions at practice against an ever-improving defense, Manning's decision-making was sharp.