Kurt Warner can empathize with tough choices facing Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning walks off the field in Denver after a 24-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs on Jan. 11.
(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

Among the big questions during the NFL off-season will be the future of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who said after a divisional playoff loss to Indianapolis that he couldn’t immediately commit to returning for an 18th season.

Retired quarterback Kurt Warner said he can understand that thought process, and can empathize with what the 38-year-old Manning might be feeling.

“The thing that I wrestled with was less physical and more mental," Warner, 43, said of ending his career after the 2009 season. “I have a feeling it’s just the opposite for Peyton. Nobody really knows from the outside looking in, but some of the struggles we saw there at the end seem to be more of a physical thing than the mental part of it.

“That’s probably the harder decision, is to come to grips with the fact that maybe physically you can’t do what you’ve always done. Although your mind is sharp and you know what you want to do, your body doesn’t allow you to do it. Again, I’m speculating here -- I have no inside knowledge, and even watching him on film it befuddles me a little bit, because I watch him make some really good throws and then I watch him miss some stuff badly that he’s never missed before -- but I think that’s what he’s going to wind up wrestling with.”


Warner, now an NFL Network commentator, is participating in a Toyota Super Bowl campaign called “One Bold Choice Leads to Another," based on what it means to be a dad, with a pair of minute-long commercials that will air during the Feb. 1 game.

One of the two ads features several football players and their children, among them Warner, retired linebacker LaVarr Arrington as well as Buffalo running back Fred Jackson and Denver defensive end DeMarcus Ware.

Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesFarmer