An irritated Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has refuted a report that he told the team he did not want to be a backup, whether it was in practice as he works to return to the field or in games.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning on NFL Network that Manning has no interest in serving as the backup to Brock Osweiler.
"It's bull----, and it's insulting," Manning told Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.
Asked if the comment was for the record, Manning said: "Yes, and I can't say it any plainer than that.''
John Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations and general manager, said earlier on Twitter:
"Peyton has never told Gary or myself that he doesn't want to be the backup. Any report or rumor that suggests otherwise is incorrect!"
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak was asked after Sunday's game if Manning had made any declarations about being the team's backup.
"That's sad to hear. I'm going to tell you what: Hell no, no way. OK?" Kubiak said. "He's working his tail off to get back on the field, that's what he's doing.''
The 39-year-old Manning is recovering from a torn plantar fascia near his left heel. He suffered the injury in the Broncos' Nov. 8 loss in Indianapolis. Manning has not played since Nov. 15 when he threw four interceptions in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. After the game, the tear was revealed.
Manning returned to practice last week, working in Wednesday's and Thursday's practice but did not practice Friday because of what Kubiak termed "some soreness.''
Manning had played the role of scout-team quarterback as Osweiler continued to get the first-team reps with the offense. Osweiler, who is 3-2 with Manning sidelined, made his fifth consecutive start for the Broncos on Sunday.
Kubiak has declined to address who will be the starter when the Broncos host the Cincinnati Bengals for a Monday night game next week.
Agent Tom Condon, who has represented Manning for his entire NFL career, released a statement Sunday.
"Peyton isn't healthy," Condon said. "Dr. (Robert) Anderson said if the injury lasts nine months to a year, he should consider surgery. During his 18 years in the NFL, he has and continues to be an extraordinary example of excellence as a player and teammate. For (anyone) to suggest that a healthy Peyton Manning wouldn't help his team lacks integrity and fundamental knowledge of Peyton and what he stands for."