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Elway: Manning should walk 'into the sunset' a champ

The old saying goes, "Like general manager, like quarterback," or something like that.

Broncos general manager John Elway knows a thing or two about retiring at the top of the mountain; he won back-to-back Super Bowls in his final two seasons in the NFL, closing out a 16-year previously championship-barren career the right way. Now, Elway wants that for the Broncos' current gunslinger, Peyton Manning.

"He understands the idea and what my focus is," Elway told the team's website, "and that's trying to win a world championship and obviously with him being 39-years-old, that's his focus too.

"I told him this: I appreciate him coming to Denver and playing and finishing his career in Denver and I feel obligated to him as much as I do the Broncos is to try to figure out a way to let him walk away into the sunset with a world championship."

In three seasons quarterbacking the Orange Crush, Manning has gotten close to Elway's promised land, but instead has suffered some terrible losses:

» In 2012, Denver lost a 38-35 double-overtime stunner to the Ravens in the divisional round, thanks to a legendary secondary breakdown against Joe Flacco and Jacoby Jones

» He led the Broncos to the Super Bowl in 2013, only to be humiliated, embarrassed, ripped apart, etc. by an all-time great Seahawks defense.

» Just last year, Manning's arm finally gave out in another divisional round loss at home, this time against the Colts and his anointed successor, Andrew Luck.

All indications are, from last season's deterioration, that Manning will never have the arm strength or the durability he once had that made him so iconic and unflappable in Indianapolis. If the 17-year veteran can play the entire 2015 season without injury and up to his standards of yesteryear, then maybe -- just maybe -- the Broncos have a chance of not only winning the wild AFC West, but also knocking off conference favorites in New England and Pittsburgh.

However, the likelihood is that Manning's legacy in Denver, when it's all said and done, will be that of a record-setter, who saved a franchise, stuck in a quarterback drought, from the wastelands of mediocrity and Tebowmania and led them toward -- but not into -- the promised land.

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