by Ralph Routon
Peyton Manning apparently wants to join the Denver Broncos. ESPN and other media are reporting that the four-time NFL most valuable player has instructed his agent today to negotiate a contract with Denver.
Various sources also are reporting that, as soon as Manning's deal is done, Denver will trade young quarterback Tim Tebow. Recent reports have indicated that the Jacksonville Jaguars are interested, and Tebow grew up there before playing at the University of Florida. New England also reportedly has expressed interest in Tebow.
The 35-year-old Manning, who will turn 36 on Saturday, ranks third in NFL history in three categories: touchdown passes, 399; passing yards, 54,828; and completions, 4,682.
Manning, who sat out the 2011 season after undergoing neck surgery, was released March 9 by the Indianapolis Colts, who decided not to pay him a large bonus and plan instead to take a quarterback with the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Manning visited and considered several teams, most notably the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers. But his first visit was to Denver, and his longtime relationship with Denver legend John Elway, now in charge of the team's football operations, was obviously an important factor in Manning's decision.
Longtime Denver linebacker Tom Jackson, now an ESPN analyst, said on the cable network that anyone who cares about the Broncos should be thrilled because "they just acquired the quarterback of our generation."
Denver defensive end Elvis Dumervil, talking on ESPN, called it "such a historic move by our organization ... but I don't want to put too much pressure on Peyton."