By Nick Shook | NFL.com
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On Tuesday, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak made it clear he wants Manning back in Denver.
Ah, the plot thickens.
Denver’s new coach was quick to respond to questions about the franchise’s intentions with its quarterback after arriving in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine.
“No, I’m expecting him to come back,” Kubiak said, via The Denver Post. “We want to play with him. This organization has won a lot of games with him and we want to get back and do it again. Expecting him to come back.”
Manning, meanwhile, has remained publicly mum on the topic for the most part, though NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer reported Friday that Manning communicated to the organization that he’d like to return for a fourth season with the team. Rapoport also said on NFL Total Access that multiple general managers across the league wonder if the Broncos truly want Manning back.
It seems as though Kubiak buried that speculation with his words Tuesday, yet the financial aspect — Denver might push for compromise on reducing or restructuring Manning’s $19 million salary for 2015 — and Manning’s impending physical are two major factors that are likely the cause for no concrete resolution at this point.
Manning was quoted after his Bart Starr Award banquet in Phoenix as saying he’d “like to make a decision soon,” yet weeks later, the two sides remain apart. It’s cause for concern for Denver fans who want to see No. 18 in orange and blue again in 2015, but the Broncos coach doesn’t seem to think so.
“I don’t think there’s any hold up at all,” Kubiak said. “He and (Broncos general manager) John (Elway) are working through the process. That’s been the plan all along, the way I understand it.”
Maybe it is as simple as Kubiak says. Maybe it is just a matter of time, of process.
With the start of the new league year — and the date Manning’s current deal becomes guaranteed for 2015 — less than a month away, soon enough the sound of the clock ticking might drown out the words spoken by both sides.