No one doubts Peyton Manning belongs standing alongside the greatest football players in the history of pigskin. The rest of this season, however, he'll be standing on the Denver Broncos' sideline.
Manning is officially active Sunday for the first time since Week 10, but he has been effectively benched in favor of Brock Osweiler -- at least for now.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday on NFL Network's GameDay Morning that even though he's active, Manning is not expected to be 100 percent healthy the rest of the season. This is Brock Osweiler's team going forward.
Manning was asked by the Broncos to be the backup in case of a disaster and the veteran agreed -- even if starting was his preference.
"Peyton, not at full health -- may night be at full health throughout the entire season -- is going to back up Brock and in case they need him, in case there is an epic disaster at quarterback, Peyton Manning could step in," Rapoport said. "But this is Brock Osweiler's team going forward, something Gary Kubiak made clear this week, based 1) on his play, especially in crunch time, and 2) that they do not think Peyton Manning can take the full reps necessary to be the starting quarterback this season."
Osweiler has played stellar in Manning's place, going 4-2 over his six starts. The end of last week's pivotal win over the Cincinnati Bengals, where the 25-year-old quarterback made some gutsy, on point throws, solidified his standing as the starter. Despite the Broncos averaging 2.3 fewer points per game with Osweiler than Manning, the younger quarterback has turned the ball over at a much lesser rate this season -- 1.2 giveaways under Brock, 2.1 giveaways per game with Peyton.
Barring an injury to Osweiler, we likely have seen the last of Manning in Denver. Once the offseason begins, whether the future Hall of Famer continues his playing career will be the next major question.