- Jeff Legwold, ESPN Staff Writer
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DENVER -- Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning may have a long list of things he's worried about, a selection that now includes the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, but a medical exam following whatever becomes of the Broncos' season is not one of them.
Manning was asked after the Broncos' 24-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday if a medical exam following the season, which according to a report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen will determine whether Manning plays in 2014, was weighing on his mind.
"It's really not. What's weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth," Manning said. "That's priority No. 1. It was an intense game, up and down, a lot of emotions. Even the Patriots is [too far] ahead. And that question is way far ahead. I am not there."
Manning said last week that "certainly, the light is at the end of the tunnel for me, no question," so that fueled at least some discussion about his playing future. Much like last season when he underwent a medical exam before the new league year began, he will undergo a medical exam on his surgically repaired neck. If doctors give Manning the thumbs-up, he will play in 2014. If not, then he would not play next season.
Manning has always said if the doctors told him, even during his recovery following spinal fusion surgery, he shouldn't play that he would walk away from the game knowing "it's been a good run."
The Broncos privately say they have no indications Manning would not receive a go-ahead to play next season, and as it stands now, expect him to be behind center in 2014.
Manning finished the regular season with 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdowns, both single-season records. Manning was 25-of-36 passing for 230 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in Sunday's win and said after the game that he's worried only about his next game.
"This team has been a one-week-at-a-time season," Manning said. "For all we've been through -- losing our coach, losing a lot of different guys to injury -- that approach has served us well, and I think we need to keep that approach from here on out."
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