On Sunday we discussed the report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Media that Peyton Manning would not want to serve as Brock Osweiler’s backup, and the swift response denying specifics of the story from Broncos GM John Elway. Later, Manning would weigh in himself (Via ESPN’s Jeff Legwold):
I asked Peyton Manning on his way out of locker room if he had any response to a report this morning he had mad [sic] Broncos aware he didn’t want to be a backup. His response; “it’s bullshit and it’s insulting.” I asked if that was on the record he said; “yes, I can’t say it any plainer than that.”
Again going into semantics, this isn’t exactly what the report was about. Rapoport indicated that Manning was “not inclined” to be the backup, not that he’d informed the team of plans to refuse to do so if he became healthy and was asked to. Here is the transcript of the original report:
It’s unsurprising that Manning would not want to be a backup. That’s just how competitive athletes are wired. While Rapoport never outright said that Manning would take action against that setup, the possibility of it was implied, because otherwise why even bring it up? The idea that a legendary quarterback would not want to be benched is about as profound as saying field goal uprights are yellow.
Curiously, this is the second Rapoport story involving the Broncos in recent weeks where the player involved has issued an outright denial. In November, Rapoport tweeted that, contrary to previous reports, Joe Thomas had asked the Browns to look into dealing him at the trade deadline, and that a swap to Denver fell through over terms of guaranteed money. Both Thomas and his agent went on the record to say that this was untrue, and Rapoport never followed up.