SAN JOSE, CALIF. – John Elway realizes as well as anyone just how difficult a decision it is for an elite quarterback to retire, and he has no plans of putting pressure on Peyton Manning to make up his mind right away.
Still, the Denver Broncos are going to do whatever they can to keep backup Brock Osweiler around, too, and not lose him in free agency.
"It's one that is going to change his life, whether it be this year, next year or the year after." Elway, the franchise's general manager and vice president, said from his seat in the stands at Monday's Super Bowl media night. "It's always a hard decision. We'll give him plenty of time. … Bottom line is Peyton's going to make the best decision for him."
And that decision might be retirement.
NFL.com, citing unidentified sources, reported that Manning has told close friends he expects to retire after the Super Bowl.
Manning was quite succinct when asked whether he would retire following the Super Bowl.
"I haven't made my mind up and I don't see myself knowing that until after the season's over," he said.
Later, Manning expanded in an interview with New York's Newsday.
"Just to go one week at a time has helped me," he said. "Not look too far ahead, not look too far back. I'm going to try to stick with that for one more week and focus on this tremendous challenge that we have of playing the Panthers."
Elway said that no matter what Manning decides, Osweiler is in the plans going forward. He started seven games this season for the AFC champions as Manning struggled while dealing with a foot injury, passing for 1,967 yards and 10 touchdowns with an 86.4 quarterback rating.
"We're hoping to get something done with Brock this offseason," Elway said. "Obviously Brock is a guy that came in and played very well for us this year. We wouldn't be here without him. We needed both quarterbacks. We wouldn't be here without both of them."
Deciding between two talented quarterbacks is a great problem to have.
Even Elway struggled to make the final call to walk away for good — yet he won't begin to compare the circumstances of his own farewell to Manning's situation at this stage.
Elway went out a Super Bowl winner and Super Bowl MVP after the 1998 season with a victory against Atlanta but still ran his retirement thoughts by his father as a sounding board. Elway said "it was very nice to have" the positive memories of going out on top.
"I was 95 percent there, but then it still took me a long time to get that last 5 percent, because it's a big decision and something that you've done your whole life and now you're not going to be able to do it anymore," Elway said. "Whether it's 80 percent of 95 percent, whatever that last step is — however big it is — is always really hard."
Simulation says …
It's kind of tough to follow up near perfection, but the Madden NFL simulator of this year's Super Bowl has given it a shot.
One year after a simulation perfectly predicted the final score of the Super Bowl, Electronic Arts on Monday announced that its simulator had projected a 24-20 Carolina Panthers victory against the Broncos this weekend.
It will be the 13th year that the company has run the simulator and, thus far, it has been correct on picking a winner nine times.
Last year, however, it took accuracy to a new level.
The game picked the exact final score — a 28-24 New England Patriots victory for those who aren't fans of Tom Brady's squad — as well as the MVP, who ended up being Brady.
Mass transit problems
The Broncos returned their hotel in Santa Clara on Monday afternoon after their buses were involved in a minor accident following their practice at Stanford Stadium.
Team spokesman Patrick Smyth said nobody was injured.
Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware tweeted a photo of players standing alongside their bus. He posted: "To keep the day interesting, we have a small wreck. Looks like everyone is ok though."
Planning to play
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who broke his right arm in the NFC Championship Game, returned to practice on Monday with no limitations and said he expects to play in the Super Bowl. "It feels great,'' Davis said.