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Peyton Manning reportedly wants to play in 2016, even if it's not with the Broncos

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Manning isn't giving up on football 18 seasons into a very successful career.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning intends to get healthy and return to starting in the NFL, even if it's not with the Broncos, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Manning has a partially torn plantar fascia and is in the midst of one of his worst seasons statistically.

Brock Osweiler had a successful starting debut with the Broncos in a 17-15 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. If it was an audition for the starting role, Osweiler might have cemented his place for the rest of the season.

Manning, 39, has thrown 17 interceptions in nine games this season. He has only eclipsed that total over the course of a full season three times in his 18-year career. The 14-time Pro Bowler was originally benched after tossing four interceptions against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10. He spent this week rehabbing his injuries, and did not travel with the team to Chicago.

The Broncos would have to trade or release Manning if he is to play for another team in 2016. Tony Dungy, Manning's former coach with the Indianapolis Colts, said on NBC prior to Sunday Night Football that he is very close to Manning and hadn't heard that he would consider playing for another team in 2016.

Although Gary Kubiak was noncommittal when when asked if Osweiler earned a second start, it seems likely that Osweiler would need to slip up for Manning to return to action this season. The Broncos should have a much clearer picture where things stand with Osweiler when he faces what should be the toughest test of the season in Week 12: a matchup against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Osweiler threw for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns against a tough Chicago Bears defense, but the Patriots are on another level, and have been viewed as Denver's top rival in the postseason in recent years. Keeping the 8-2 Broncos competitive in Week 12 would give the coaching staff confidence that Osweiler wouldn't lead the team astray in the playoffs, a place the Broncos are likely headed with an 8-2 record.