Man­ning era gets started in Den­ver; Ward re­tires a Steeler

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports -

DEN­VER | Pey­ton Man­ning was in­tro­duced as the quar­ter­back of the Den­ver Bron­cos on Tues­day, the four-time MVP tak­ing the spot once held by John El­way, who as Bron­cos vice pres­i­dent en­gi­neered the deal to bring the NFL’S most sought-af­ter free agent to town.

Man­ning’s five-year, $96 mil­lion deal that also could also mark the end of Tim Te­bow’s days in Den­ver — a bold move, for sure, but one El­way was more than will­ing to take.

“Plan B?” he said. “I don’t have a Plan B. We’re go­ing with Plan A.”

Of pri­mary con­cern are Man­ning’s mul­ti­ple neck surg­eries. He said he’s not where he wants to be in terms of his phys­i­cal sta­tus.

“I want to be where I was be­fore I was in­jured, Man­ning said. “There’s a lot of work to do to get where we want to be from a health stand­point.”

He also ad­dressed Te­bow’s un­cer­tain fu­ture with the or­ga­ni­za­tion af­ter the charis­matic QB led the Bron­cos to their first play­off win since 2005.

“I know what kind of player Tim Te­bow is, what kind of per­son he is, what an awe­some year it was. If Tim Te­bow is here next year, I’m go­ing to be the best team­mate I can be to him. He and I are go­ing to help this team win games.” still play foot­ball. The long­time Pitts­burgh wide re­ceiver known for his high-wattage smile and his bone-crunch­ing blocks just couldn’t stom­ach the thought of do­ing it in some strange uni­form on some strange field with nary a Ter­ri­ble Towel in sight. “I just wouldn’t feel right,” Ward said. So rather than play for a 15th sea­son — and his first out­side the Steel City — a tearful Ward opted to re­tire Tues­day and se­cure a legacy un­matched in the fran­chise’s sto­ried his­tory.

“I can say I’m a Steeler for life and that’s the bot­tom line, that’s all I’ve re­ally ever wanted,” Ward said.

Ward, 36, holds ev­ery sig­nif­i­cant fran­chise re­ceiv­ing record, in­clud­ing re­cep­tions, re­ceiv­ing yards and touch­downs.

His 1,000 ca­reer catches rank eighth all time, and he is one of only two play­ers with at least 1,000 re­cep­tions and two Su­per Bowl rings. He was the MVP in Su­per Bowl XL with five catches for 123 yards and a touchdown in Pitts­burgh’s 21-10 win over Seat­tle. 77th pick.

The 27-year-old line­backer and team cap­tain leaves Hous­ton as the Tex­ans all-time leader with 637 tack­les while also con­tribut­ing eight sacks, six forced fum­bles, eight fumble re­cov­er­ies and two in­ter­cep­tions in his six-year ca­reer.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Quar­ter­back Pey­ton Man­ning (left) and Bron­cos vice pres­i­dent John El­way show off Man­ning’s new jer­sey dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at team head­quar­ters in En­gle­wood, Colo. Man­ning agreed to a five-year, $96 mil­lion con­tract.

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