John Elway wants Peyton Manning back with Broncos

General manager John Elway's decision to part with John Fox and potentially clean house on the entire coaching staff begs the question of the Denver Broncos' intentions regarding Peyton Manning.

Elway answered that question in Tuesday's press conference, making it clear that Manning will be welcomed back with open arms if the quarterback opts to return for another season.

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The two men spoke Monday, with Elway telling Manning, "Just know how much we want you back, but the thing is for you to take the time and get away from this."

Elway will stay in touch with Manning, who will be "involved in the process" of finding a new head coach.

"In four or five weeks, we'll get back together and see where he is," Elway explained. "The career that he's had and what he's done, not only for the NFL, but in the short time he's been here with the Denver Broncos, what he's meant to us is tremendous.

"We'll continue to monitor that, but the bottom line is we want him back, and it's going to come down to what Peyton wants to do."

Elway didn't see enough of a drop-off in Manning's play to consider turning the offense over to Brock Osweiler. The decision to play an 18th NFL season is entirely in Manning's hands.

Does Manning still have the physical ability to carry the organization back to Super Bowl?

After watching Broncos game film, several NFL scouts and executives suggested to NFL Media's Albert Breer that this could be the end of the line.

"Saw a lack of velocity, declining arm strength," an AFC executive said. "No juice or zip on throws. Shelf life."

One NFC scout added, "It's sad watching him, even more sad how Denver treated one of the greatest. Arm looks shot, sad seeing him look like that, knowing how big a competitor he is."

Manning was a legitimate MVP candidate, perched atop Gregg Rosenthal's quarterback index, entering November.

Is it possible that he just "lost it" in a matter of weeks after torching NFL defenses throughout the first half of the season?

While the abundance of evidence speaks to a quarterback overly reliant on his lower body struggling to throw the ball with authority, the zip on Manning's passes was missing for a couple of weeks even before the twin quadriceps injuries surfaced.

Nobody in the NFL is more uniquely qualified than Elway to assess Manning's prospects for 2015.

Up until Elway's final season he had missed just nine games due to injury in his entire career. As his body began breaking down with hamstring and back injuries, Elway limped to the second of back-to-back Super Bowl victories.

It was self-evident that his career was over at age 38.

Elway's faith in Manning at the same age coming off similar injury concerns is reason to believe the Broncos offense can bounce back after limping to the finish line on Sunday.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Divisional Round game and ranks the remaining quarterbacks still standing. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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