Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) has some words for Texans safety D.J. Swearinger, at least one of which can’t be passed along here. (Joe Mahoney/Associated Press)

Peyton Manning is getting feisty in his old age. On Saturday, the 38-year-old quarterback drew his first-ever flag for taunting, and today the NFL slapped him with an $8,268 fine for his unruly behavior.

Actually, Manning had a pretty good excuse. During Saturday’s preseason game against Houston, Texans safety D.J. Swearinger laid out Broncos receiver Wes Welker with a huge hit (shown below), giving the slot receiver his third concussion in 10 months.

Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) is hit by Texans strong safety D.J. Swearinger (36) and Jeff Tarpinian (52) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game. (Jack Dempsey/Associated Press)

Swearinger was given a unnecessary roughness penalty for the play, but Manning was not satisfied. First, the quarterback exacted his revenge the way one would expect — by throwing a touchdown pass on the very next play. Then Manning ran downfield, but not to congratulate Emmanuel Sanders, who had caught the pass, but rather to get in the face of Swearinger. And what did Manning have to say to his antagonist?

The amount of the fine, of course, is chump change to Manning, who will make a base salary of $15,000,000 this season. Not that he had a single thing to prove to his Denver teammates, but they must have appreciated the way Manning showed he had Welker’s back.

Besides, as Manning pointed out, he drew the 15-yard penalty with just five seconds left in the half.  “I think if you’re going to get one, that’s a good time to get one,” Manning said after the game.

Actually, that sounds like the same calculating, pragmatic guy we’ve seen dissect the NFL since 1998. Darn, just when it seemed like he was developing an exciting, new mean streak.