Peyton Manning evaluating return

PHOENIX -- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said Friday he has not yet made a decision about whether to play in 2015, but he added he is "not interested in making this a lingering thing."

Manning was honored at the annual Super Bowl breakfast with the Bart Starr Award for his off-the-field work in the community -- during the ceremony New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees used the tune of an insurance jingle to say "Peyton, please come back and play" -- and following the event Manning spoke about his attempts to decide whether or not to play next season.

"I haven't made a decision yet," Manning said. "I still want to take some time to evaluate some things, to talk to some people. Obviously the Broncos have been quite busy hiring a staff, I have had some dialogue with Coach (Gary) Kubiak and did have a chance (to) see him in person."

Manning later added: "I'm not interested in making this a lingering thing, I'd like to make a decision soon. But at the same time, you know, both Coach (Kubiak), (Broncos CEO) Joe (Ellis) and John (Elway) have instructed me to take some time, so I'm kind of following their orders."

Manning said he met with Kubiak on Wednesday. While NFL rules limit the discussions between coaches and players at given points in the offseason, Manning said the two were essentially trying "to get to know each other."

John Fox and the Broncos parted ways the day after the Broncos' 24-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC's divisional round. Kubiak was hired earlier this month and has since been working to put together his coaching staff, which will include former Broncos player and assistant coach Rick Dennison as offensive coordinator.

Asked what kinds of factors he is considering in his decision, Manning said;

"I'm not interested in making this a lingering thing, I'd like to make a decision soon."

Peyton Manning, Broncos QB

"I guess some of those things are personal, some things I want to discuss with them. ... There's been quite a lot of change since the last game and I want to hear what they have to say, get their thoughts on some things, share some of thoughts of my own with them and get their feedback."

Manning, who suffered a right thigh injury in the Broncos' win over the San Diego Chargers on Dec. 14, will have his annual checkup on his surgically repaired neck within 10 days of the start of the new league year, which begins March 10.

The checkup is to simply give the Broncos an idea of where Manning is physically after having spinal fusion surgery in 2011. In the first two years of Manning's five-year contract, there was some guaranteed money tied to the checkups, but not at this point.

Manning's salary for 2015 -- $19 million -- is guaranteed if he is on the team's roster March 9.

"Don't see it being that significant," Manning said. "I feel pretty confident I would pass that physical, that my neck is in good shape. I'd like to avoid a crowd standing outside the MRI room, if possible. I've felt secure about that the past three years and feel the same about that."

Manning had said on Christmas Eve he intended to return for the 2015 season, but then backtracked Jan. 11 following the Broncos' 24-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC's divisional round. Manning finished with 26-of-46 passing for 211 yards and a touchdown as several Colts defenders said they wanted to put the game in Manning's hands and force him to throw the ball toward the sidelines.

Following the game Manning said he could not say with any certainty whether he would be back for the 2015 season. Elway met with Manning the day after the season-ending loss and Elway said he told Manning to take at least four weeks to make a decision.

Manning said his decision to play in '15 would be based on his belief that he is physically ready to help the Broncos win and not on how this past season ended.

"Well, hey look, if I were to stop, that last game wouldn't be a factor," Manning said. "I feel I've been very blessed to have played a long time and have had a lot of positive moments. Really the relationships is what, you talk to ex-players, and what they remember the most, and I have quite of few of those in storage ... that will never be taken away.

"That really is not a factor. If you come back it's because you still believe you can help a team. And you think you have a chance to help that team win. That's kind of why you've always played. At the same time, you want to get a good feel if the team is comfortable with you and if you fit in. Like I said, we've had quite a few changes."