Manning went as far as jokingly questioning his conversation with Bill Belichick that NFL Films captured after Denver's AFC Championship Game victory over the Patriots.
"I don't know if that's been confirmed," Manning said to a gaggle of reporters laughing a little too hard.
In truth, Manning didn't sound particularly amused by his conversation going public. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said he hasn't spoken a word with Manning about whether this will be his last season. It complicates what's already a complicated two weeks for the quarterback.
"What happened to private conversations on the 50-yard line? They just don't exist anymore. ... There's no confirmation on that whatsoever," Manning said before a nod to the Patriots coach. "We are on to Carolina."
One of the greatest quarterbacks of all time is presumably going to retire after Super Bowl 50. This is going to be a big story over the next week. THE story. The media on Thursday surprisingly dropped the topic without a follow-up question, but that won't be the case when Manning arrives in San Francisco to meet the press Monday at Media Night.
Make sure to watch Super Bowl Opening Night live Monday on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET.