Peyton Manning will be wearing number 18 for the Denver Broncos next season. He was introduced to the media just hours after signing a five-year, $96 million contract.
Manning, who has won a Super Bowl and is arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, instantly makes the Broncos a contender in the AFC.
Manning had narrowed his choices to the Broncos, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49'ers but reports surfaced Monday that he had instructed agent Tom Condon to negotiate a deal with Denver.
Manning has not played since the 2010 season after sitting out 2011 with neck injuries. He's had at least 3 surgeries, and maybe a fourth, to correct a bulging disk that was pressing on the nerves and clean up some bone spurs.
"I'm not where I want to be," Manning said at the press conference Tuesday afternoon. "I want to be where I was before I was injured. There's a lot of work to do to get where we want to be from a health standpoint."
The good news, according to CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hinda, is that the surgeries worked. Manning is able to throw hard and often.
The addition of Manning could well lead to the trade of Tim Tebow, who energized the Broncos in leading them to the playoffs last season despite his uneven play.
"The toughest thing about this whole thing is Tim Tebow, because of what I think about Tim Tebow," Broncos VP John Elway said Tuesday afternoon.
"I know what kind of player Tim Tebow is, what kind of person he is, what an awesome year it was," Manning said. "If Tim Tebow is here, I'm going to be the best teammate. If other opportunities are presented to him, I'm going to wish him the best."
Sources also report that former Colts center Jeff Saturday is scheduled to meet with the Denver Broncos now. Saturday had plans to visit Green Bay and Tennessee.