DENVER — Broncos fans may want to move on from Denver’s Super Bowl debacle. Not Peyton Manning. He’s holding on to the heartache to stoke his competitive fire.
In his first public comments since the highest-scoring team in NFL history was destroyed by the Seahawks from the opening snap two months ago, Manning said the Broncos’ 43-8 loss will serve as motivation in 2014.
“I don’t really have a word for it. Obviously it was disappointing, and we’ll use that to fuel us this offseason and hopefully it’ll make us better,” Manning said Wednesday before giving the keynote address at the Boy Scouts of America Sports Breakfast in Denver.
“I know the front office has addressed some offseason needs in free agency and of course the draft’s coming up, and now it’s up to the players to put in the hard work in the weight room, the film room and on the practice field to try to be a better team this year, and that all starts Monday.”
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The Broncos gather next week for the official start of offseason workouts with a roster that looks a lot different from the one that lost by five touchdowns to the Seahawks.
Gone are Champ Bailey, Eric Decker, Wesley Woodyard, Zane Beadles, Knowshon Moreno and Chris Kuper, whose departures cleared cap space for the additions of DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and Emmanuel Sanders.
Manning said the Broncos are beginning to look ahead.
“Yeah, you have to move forward. You have to kind of re-establish your identity of the 2014 team,” he said.
Only two teams have lost a Super Bowl and bounced back to win the next one: the 1971 Dallas Cowboys and the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
“Absolutely I am,” Manning said when asked if he’s hungrier than ever.
“That’s what I want to do (win the Super Bowl title). That’s what the Denver Broncos want to do. I am glad to be part of a team that wants that. I need to do my part. That’s what I think about every day I go to work, doing my job to help the Denver Broncos get better.”
• The Green Bay Packers reached a deal to bring back backup quarterback Matt Flynn, who stabilized the position after starter Aaron Rodgers went down with a collarbone injury last season.
• The New York Jets signed former Titans running back Chris Johnson, a little over a week after he was officially released by Tennessee. Johnson’s two-year deal reportedly has a base value of $8 million, but he can earn $1 million more in incentives.
• Quarterback Josh Freeman agreed to terms with the New York Giants. Freeman was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in October after a messy split. He signed with Minnesota four days later but played just one game.
• Kansas City Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty to amended charges of defective equipment and littering in connection with his November arrest for possessing marijuana in Riverside, Kan. Bowe paid $610 in fines.
• Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper’s DNA was found in an examination of one of two women who accuse him of drugging and sexually assaulting them at a Tempe, Ariz., apartment, a detective testified.
• A federal judge in Philadelphia has declined to approve deals for another batch of retired players suing the NFL over concussion-linked claims. U.S. District Judge Anita Brody’s preliminary ruling follows a similar ruling in January on the proposed $765 million umbrella settlement. She is skeptical that the fund is large enough to cover up to 20,000 players for 65 years, as intended.