DENVER, CO - JANUARY 24:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos during the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Patriots 20-18.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Former Colts assistant not sure Peyton Manning will retire after Super Bowl

Will Peyton Manning retire after Super Bowl 50 or won’t he?

We now have counter-intelligence to Manning’s “last rodeo” whisper into Bill Belichick’s ear.

Clyde Christensen, who had served on the Colts’ coaching staff since 2002 before being hired in January as the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator, wouldn’t be surprised if Manning gives it a go in 2016 regardless of what happens Sunday, according to ESPN.com.

Christensen filled various roles in Indianapolis, including wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator. So he knows the 39-year-old Manning pretty well.

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 07:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts stands with offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 7, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

“I don’t know many people who enjoy their job as much as him,” Christensen said.

Manning’s decline has been apparent since the second half of the 2014 season. He had thrown a league-high 17 interceptions when he was replaced by Brock Osweiler in Week 10 this season, although he hasn’t thrown one since taking his job back in a Week 17 win over the Chargers. He’s thrown two touchdown passes in the two-and-a-half games he’s been back, both in the AFC championship game, but he averaged just six yards per passing attempt in the divisional-round win over the Steelers and 5.5 against the Patriots.

Super Bowl 50 should be Manning’s last game. Since he appeared in only 10 games, Manning didn’t prove this year that his body can hold up over a full season.

If Manning leads the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 win over the Panthers, it would be the perfect opportunity for him to go out on top. Even if the Broncos lose, as long as it’s not in a manner similar to their 43-8 loss to the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, Manning still can exit a lot more gracefully than most other players.

But if he hangs on another year, there’s no guarantee he’ll get back to the Super Bowl and there’s even less of a guarantee that his skills won’t erode further.

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