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Peyton Manning: I plan to be back with Broncos

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It's no surprise that Peyton Manning's four interception meltdown in Cincinnati on Monday night inspired a lot of hand-wringing around the nation. Coach John Fox was forced to say that the Broncos are "not getting ready to get rid of our quarterback" when talking about the league leader in touchdowns.

Meanwhile, knuckleheads like myself have been asked on radio stations whether Manning could retire at the end of the season. Manning had a response for all those questions on Wednesday:

"I certainly plan on being back if the Broncos will have me," Manning said via the Denver Post.

Future seers like Around the NFL's Marc Sessler have been predicting a Manning retirement since before the season. And there is a school of thought that says a proud player like Manning would hang it up when his arm strength clearly leaves him compromised.

It's worth noting that Manning's decline has been overstated. (Just look at the highlights atop this post.) He has hit plenty of vertical passes over the last few weeks, even though the Broncos passing game is not in sync. Manning just needs more help from those around him at this stage of his career, which is true of any quarterback not named Aaron Rodgers.

"At this point I'm thinking about Oakland," Manning said. "I know this is the time when there are conversations about what coaches are going to return. For some reason I guess I get to fall into that category because maybe I'm closer to the same age as some of the coaches. But I have no plans along those lines. I'm enjoying playing and looking forward to Sunday's game and the game to follow that."

Manning is at the special part of his career where the regular season is just a preamble. If he plays well in January, no one will talk about retirement. They'll talk about whether he's the greatest of all time.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews the biggest matchups in Week 17 and makes its picks for the last week of the season. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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