Finally, Peyton Manning was on a football field, showing everyone — not just coaches and medical people and other football players — how well he is progressing in his recovery from multiple neck surgeries.
In his first organized team activity with the Denver Broncos, Manning threw the ball with zip and accuracy, as John Elway, the team’s vice-president of football operations, and dozens of media members watched at the team’s Dove Valley headquarters.
“It felt good to be out there,” said Manning, who missed all of the 2011 season with the Indianapolis Colts after having fusion surgery on his neck. “I haven't really been out there like this for a year and a half. It's a day I've been waiting on for a long time.”
Manning wasn’t saying he was fully recovered, though. “It's hard to say. I try to get better every day. That's my goal,” he said. “I really need to use this time. I do think there's a difference when you are on the field, in helmets, going up against the defense. Up until now we haven't been able to go against a defense, so this will be great work for me.”
Manning signed with the Broncos after becoming the NFL’s most coveted free agent when he was released by the Colts and, after 14 seasons in Indy, is getting used to a new system and a new coach in John Fox.
“There's no question it's different. You've got different terminology and different players,” Manning said. “The more repetitions you get, the better. I do feel that on-the-field reps are the best reps. You can do your classroom work, which is important and you have to study and take your notes, but there's nothing quite like going out on the field and executing the play, going against fast, defensive players.”
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