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Peyton Will Be a Bronco
Monday, 19 March 2012

Peyton Manning is finalizing a contract with the Denver Broncos, a league source told NFL Network's Michael Lombardi on Monday.

Manning called Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway on Monday to inform him of his decision.

Unlock HQ Video HQ video delivered by AkamThe Broncos already have looked into a trade of quarterback Tim Tebow and currently are looking for a trade partner, a source told NFL Network's Albert Breer.

Broncos wideout Eric Decker, who had 44 receptions for 612 yards with eight touchdowns in 2011, told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that he expects the offense to change with Manning now under center and that Manning would run the system from the line of scrimmage.

"More of the offense will be in Peyton's hands," Decker said.

The Broncos were one of three finalists for the four-time NFL MVP, as the Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers fell just short of the Broncos in the race to sign Manning. The Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins also were in the hunt and earned meetings with Manning but ultimately did not make the final three.

Manning personally called Titans owner Bud Adams, who had offered Manning a lifetime contract with the Titans, to let him know of his choice, according to The Tennessean. The newspaper reported that Adams was disappointed, but he was glad his team made a run at the quarterback.

"I was hoping we would win out," Adams told The Tennessean. "I thought we'd be ahead of Denver. I thought he'd want to stay in Tennessee."

Adams told the newspaper that he jokingly told Manning, "He was going into high altitude, so he better start getting in shape."

The Broncos flew to Durham, N.C., to watch Manning throw at nearby Duke University last Friday. The Broncos' contingent was led by Elway, coach John Fox, general manager Brian Xanders, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, quarterbacks coach Adam Gase and medical personnel.

"We enjoyed visiting with Peyton today in N.C.," Elway tweeted after the session. "He threw the ball great and looked very comfortable out there. Watching him throw today was the next step in this important process for our team and Peyton. It was a productive visit and went well."

The Indianapolis Colts released Manning on March 7, ending a 14-year relationship between the team and its franchise quarterback.

The Colts' decision to part ways with the four-time MVP, who has thrown for over 54,000 career yards with 399 touchdowns, did not come as a surprise. Manning missed all of 2011 after undergoing neck surgery the week before the start of the regular season. He was due to receive a $28 million roster bonus if he had been with the Colts, a team currently in rebuilding mode with a new coach and general manager, at the start of the league year.

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