LOS ANGELES: Peyton Manning has stoked speculation about his retirement after being caught on film telling New England Patriots boss Bill Belichick that Sunday’s AFC Championship game could be his “last rodeo,” reports said on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).
The 39-year-old Denver Broncos quarterback made the remark in an embrace with the Patriots coach after last weekend’s epic 20-18 victory at Mile High Stadium.
“Hey, listen, this might be my last rodeo. So, it sure has been a pleasure,” Manning was reported to have told Belichick.
The comment was reportedly picked up by microphones belonging to cameras shooting for NFL Films.
Belichick had made a point of seeking out Manning in the post-match melee and drew the quarterback in close to exchange words.
Asked on Monday to divulge what he had shared with Manning, the famously gruff Patriots chief remained tight-lipped.
“Don’t have anything to share. I shared it with Peyton,” Belichick said.
Manning will become the oldest starting quarterback in Super Bowl history when the Broncos collide with the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco on February 7.
He will be chasing a second Super Bowl ring to crown one of the most successful careers in NFL history.
Manning’s future has been the subject of intense speculation after a difficult season which saw him battling injury and struggling to produce his best form.
He lost his position as Broncos starting quarterback but returned during the postseason to guide Denver into their second Super Bowl appearance in two years after their defeat in 2014 to Seattle.