New Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, center, is flanked by Broncos owner Pat Bowlin, left, and vice president John Elway during a news conference at the NFL Denver Broncos headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)New
DENVER (AP) -- Peyton Manning has been introduced as the new quarterback of the Denver Broncos, the four-time MVP taking the spot once held by John Elway, who as Broncos vice president engineered the deal to bring the NFL's most sought-after star to town.
Manning said, "I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my playing career with the Denver Broncos," after showing off his new, orange No. 18 jersey at a packed news conference Tuesday, hours after signing a five-year, $96 million contract.
Recently released by Indianapolis, Manning became probably the top free agent in NFL history. Denver's main competition in the sweepstakes came from Tennessee and San Francisco.
The Broncos saw the 35-year-old QB work out last week and were satisfied that he has recovered from multiple neck injuries that kept him off the field in 2011.
Manning says he's on the mend but still has work to do to get back to full health after a series of neck operations that forced him to miss last year.
Manning said "I have work to do."
"I'm not where I want to be. I want to be where I was before I was injured. There's a lot of work to do to get where we want to be from a health standpoint."
Manning said he "laid his cards out on the table" when he spoke to Broncos vice president John Elway and was grateful that Denver, along with San Francisco, Tennessee and others, were willing to consider him to be their next QB.
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