“I’d love to be back,” Stokley told DenverBroncos.com on Wednesday. “I still love this game and still have the passion to play. So we’ll see what happens.”
Stokley, 36 years old, almost didn't play this season. If not for quarterback Peyton Manning landing in Denver, Stokley probably would have retired.
“Without him, I wouldn’t have played this year,” Stokley said of Manning. “There’s no doubt I’d be retired, probably about 20 pounds heavier, so, yeah, I owe him a lot for this year and a lot for my career in general. Coming from Baltimore, going to Indy, that kind of sparked my career, playing with him. Yeah, I owe the guy a lot.”
As Denver's slot receiver last season, Stokley hauled in 45 passes for 544 yards (12.1 yards per catch) and scored five times. Providing a smart, veteran presence for the Broncos' younger receivers, Stokley was one of Manning's favorite targets in 2012.
After going 13-3 in the regular season, Denver fell to the Baltimore Ravens 38-35 in double overtime in the divisional round of the playoffs. That's not how Stokley wants his career to end.
“Like I said, this is about the only thing I do halfway decent, so for me, why not?” Stokley said. “I feel like I still love it, I still love competing and I still love playing football, so hopefully I’ll get another opportunity.”
Stokley is going to be a free agent this summer. But after displaying his chemistry with Manning last season, the former Colts receiver appears likely to be brought back by Denver, if he does decided to return.
As of today, it looks like Stokley will be coming back. Cue Gus Johnson.