Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning during a press conference in preparation for Super Bowl XLVIII at the Hyatt Regency. John O (USA TODAY)

Eli Manning Didn’t Believe Peyton Would Play Football Again After First Surgery

Peyton Manning is playing in his third Super Bowl, but truth be told, Eli Manning didn’t think his brother would ever get back there. In fact, Eli didn’t think Peyton would ever play football again after his first neck surgery in May of 2011.

“I was pretty much convinced that he was done,” Eli Manning said Wednesday on NFL Network. “There was no way he could come back and play football. That first time he went and we were just throwing it in the backyard of our house. We’re throwing 15 yards away, and it was a lob. He couldn’t throw 15 yards on a line. It had no pop.” – Eli Manning via ESPN

Even during the 2012 preseason, Eli was concerned about his brother’s future in the league.

“I remember watching his preseason game last year, and I was worried,” Eli Manning said. “I was kind of like, ‘I don’t know how this is going to work.’ If you gotta make a throw, or someone’s in your face and you can’t step into the throw, can you make all those throws that you gotta make a lot of to end games?”

Peyton is playing the best ball of his career right now. Sure, it helps that he has all kinds of weapons including a trio of receivers, a beast of a tight end, a solid running back, and a great offensive line. Still, Manning has to get the ball out of his hands. He’s not the strongest or most athlete quarterback in the league, but he is the smartest, and with that, he can make decisions faster.

At 37-years-old, Manning is set to return for the 2014 season no matter what the outcome is in Super Bowl XLVIII.

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