Banged-up Manning benched for Bears game
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — On his 25th birthday, Brock Osweiler will make his first NFL start, replacing an injured Peyton Manning in the Broncos' much-anticipated game against the Chicago Bears.
"That would be an awesome birthday present if we can go get a win," Osweiler said Monday a few minutes before a somber Manning stood at his locker a few feet away and spoke about his various ailments and the pain of being benched.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak decided to make the switch Monday in the aftermath of Denver's 29-13 loss to Kansas City in which Manning was picked off four times and had a rock-bottom 0.0 passer rating in 2½ quarters of work. Osweiler relieved him and drove Denver to two late touchdowns.
Kubiak was kicking himself for letting Manning play against the Chiefs after he'd been limited during the week by a torn plantar fascia in his right foot, a mysterious ribcage injury that announced itself over the weekend and a lingering sore throwing shoulder. Manning went for an MRI on his ribs Monday.
"All of our full attention is going to be to getting Peyton back and healthy," Kubiak said.
Manning wanted to gut it out again and see if he could practice during the week and play Sunday. But a day after Von Miller called Manning "the Sheriff," Kubiak made it clear he was the one calling the shots and wasn't going to acquiesce again to Manning's wishes out of deference to the five-time MVP.
Manning stood at his locker not long after Kubiak told the team of the switch and, ever the professional, accepted his coach's decision with grace.
"I want to try to get healthy this week," Manning said. "I'm disappointed that I'm injured. I'm disappointed in the game yesterday. I will try to take advantage of this week and try to get to feeling better and getting healthy."
Kubiak said he met with Manning for an hour Monday morning and told him of his decision — which he said Manning didn't like.
"I've never met a player who agreed to that," Kubiak said. "I mean, no, he's up there today and he wants to go, he wants to do everything he can for his football team and I knew that and I expected that. I tried to express to him my concern to getting him back to himself and feeling better. And I think he understands the position I'm in and I sure as hell understand the type of person he is and the player he is."
Manning won't practice this week nor will he suit up against the Bears, when rookie Trevor Siemian will be Osweiler's backup. Manning will spend lots of time with team athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos.
Kubiak wouldn't speculate how long Manning might be out.