NEWARK - Everyone seems to be fixated on the end of Peyton Manning's career -- everyone except Manning himself.
While answering questions about his emotions heading into his third Super Bowl, Manning was asked Tuesday about his legacy -- a topic the future Hall of Famer didn't think warranted much discussion.
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"I've been asked about my legacy since I was 25 years old -- which I'm not sure you can have a legacy when you are 25 years old, or even 37,'' Manning said. "I thought you had to be 70 to have a legacy.
"I'm not 100 percent sure what the word even means. I'm down the homestretch of my career, but I'm still in it. It's not over yet. It's still playing out. This has been the second chapter of my career, and it is an exciting chapter. I'm certainly excited to be back in the Super Bowl on behalf of the Denver Broncos.''
Earlier in the week, the 37-year-old quarterback maintained that his career wasn't close to being over. But the "retirement'' talk crept its way into Media Day -- much to Manning's dismay.
"I think John Elway would still be playing football if he could physically,'' he said during his hourlong session at Prudential Center.
Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations, was 38 when he ended a Hall of Fame career 15 years ago after winning his second consecutive Super Bowl for Denver.
"Based on his words to me, that physically he just couldn't do it anymore -- it was too hard to practice, it was too hard to play in the games, and it was painful -- he just had nothing left to give out there,'' Manning said. "That's why he decided to retire. Had he felt better, he would have kept playing.
"I feel a little bit better than I thought I would coming off that [neck] surgery a couple of years ago,'' said Manning, who set records by throwing for 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards this season. "I feel better physically. I've been rejuvenated playing under a different offense, playing with new receivers, because it keeps me stimulated every day. So I certainly would like to keep playing.''
Transitioning from Indianapolis -- where he spent 14 seasons -- to Denver allowed Manning the opportunity to challenge himself and adapt to a new culture, coaches and teammates. And when it comes to football, learning is a perpetual process, he said. Especially at quarterback.
"If you ever stop learning,'' he said, "that's when you are in trouble.''
Though his teammates praise him for being the ultimate professional, Manning isn't always all business. It didn't take long for the often-stern quarterback to show off his playful side in the locker room.
"He's actually a very genuine person,'' receiver Wes Welker said. "A great teammate. He loves hanging out with the guys and being around the guys, camaraderie and everything else. He enjoys it. It makes you enjoy it as well.''