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Peyton Manning says he's 'just trying to stay in the moment'

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Just a handful of questions into the NFL's first prime-time media event, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was asked if Super Bowl 50 would be his final game.

"I've tried to stay in the moment, tried not to look back," Manning said in the opening minutes of his session at the Super Bowl 50 media night. "Just tried to stay in the moment."

Certainly, the narrative will be a common one as Manning moves through the week. At 39, he missed seven games this past season with a left foot injury. He conceded, though, that the time off to heal his foot probably helped his troublesome arm.

"My arm is what it is," Manning said. "Honestly, my having a little time off to heal my foot helped some of the other parts. ... My arm feels OK. My arm has not been the same since I was injured four years ago. ... If I could throw left-handed it would be a lot easier. ... It's just different than it was. ... It's got a few yards on it, miles on it, however you want to say it."

Carolina Panthers star cornerback Josh Norman wasn't buying talk of Manning's arm not having any zip left.

"Some say there's weakness in his arm, but I don't know what tape they're watching," Norman said during the Panthers' availability. "I've seen him overthrow his guys before."

Manning just finished his 18th regular season, and Super Bowl 50 will be his fourth title game. Given that he has come back from spinal fusion surgery in 2011 to play four seasons for the Broncos, along with the injuries that have dotted his past three seasons, there have been signs for weeks that Sunday's game might be Manning's last.

His brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, has publicly said he hopes Peyton can "go out on top," and following the Broncos' win in the AFC Championship Game, Peyton Manning was caught by an NFL Films microphone telling New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick it might be his "last rodeo."

"At some point after the season, I'll have that comprehensive analysis ... I'm at peace with it ... What I said to [Belichick] was this could be it,'' Manning said.

Manning added that his postgame comments were a matter of him wanting to "take the time to tell them [Belichick and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady] man to man" I appreciate them.

"Brady's gonna play until he's 70. Belichick's gonna coach until he's 90. Maybe I hit the fountain of youth sometime in the next month and play another 10 years. Maybe we play in 10 more championships against each other," Manning mused. "But just in case we don't, I took the time to tell them both man to man, looked them in the eye, shook their hands. It was important to me that they knew that."

Broncos general manager and executive vice president John Elway retired after winning a Super Bowl for the organization but said he doesn't know what Manning has planned for the future.

"No, he has not [said if it will be his last game]; we have not talked about that at all, and I'm not going to bring it up," Elway said. "That's something he's going to have plenty of time this offseason to think about. That's when you have to do it. You're not going to make your mind up while you're still playing.

"I want him to cherish the moment that he has now, and he can think about that this offseason."

Manning was asked directly by 14-year-old cancer survivor and aspiring sports journalist Austin Denton if he was going to retire after the Super Bowl.

"Hey, you're sharp. You're well dressed and you're smart and you're sharp," Manning said. "I don't know the answer to that."

Manning has spent the past several weeks repeating the message that he is simply "staying in the moment" and not giving much thought beyond Sunday's game against the Panthers.

It was a theme Manning repeated Monday night.

He said that another important part of the week was seeing the reactions of his far-younger teammates and players such as Owen Daniels, the Broncos tight end who is in his 10th season and will play in his first Super Bowl.

Said Manning: "Seeing other people enjoying the moment reminds me to enjoy the moment."