- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Manning was chosen as the player most respected in the NFL in our NFL Nation survey, and of the 10 Chicago Bears players taking part in the survey, three voted for the Broncos quarterback, with Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers tying for second with two votes apiece.
Interestingly, the two Bears players voting for Rodgers did so reluctantly, obviously, because of Chicago’s rivalry with the Green Bay Packers. Those players waffled between Rodgers, Manning and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Manning receives plenty of criticism for the way he’s performed in the postseason throughout his career, but the Bears players voting for him all mentioned the quarterback’s ability to dissect defenses, and galvanize a team while also pointing out his transition to a new franchise despite a difficult departure from Indianapolis.
In September, Manning tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes against the Baltimore Ravens just days before Bears coach Marc Trestman made his regular-season debut.
“I was still working, so I didn’t get to see much of it,” Trestman said when asked about Manning’s performance. “I heard a lot about it. I saw a couple of series and he threw touchdowns in both series. I imagine it was quite a game for him, and certainly a new standard for quarterbacks throughout the league to try to meet that one. Everybody’s standards got much higher after last night. I’m sure all the quarterbacks throughout the league were watching.”
Manning was the only unanimous pick for the 2013 Associated Press NFL All-Pro team, and set records this season for touchdown passes (55) and passing yards (5,477). Manning has been named to the All-Pro team in 2012 and 2013 after missing all of 2011.
“When I look at players who I respect and who I think are great players at the position, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees and Tom Brady and Aaron [Rodgers], these guys, you listen to them talk and you watch how they work and by all accounts it seems like they’ve made it or they’ve got it,” Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown said. “But they’re not relaxing. They’re continuing to work.”