A day prior to the Denver Broncos' appearance in Super Bowl 50, the team held a meeting Saturday night during which quarterback Peyton Manning and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware wore their hearts on their sleeves.
Broncos president Joe Ellis told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio (via ESPN.com) that Manning and Ware "were very emotional and near tears."
Ellis did note that Manning initially tried to lighten the mood after head coach Gary Kubiak spoke first about what the Super Bowl meant to him, "but then he got very emotional [when talking about what the game meant to him]. And so did DeMarcus. The room was silent. It was a very emotional gathering."
Manning and Ware were named two of Denver's three team captains before the season began, with David Bruton Jr. holding the special teams spot. Manning and Ware are also two of the oldest players on the Broncos roster.
Speculation about Manning's future has been running wild virtually all year, with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reporting Feb. 1 (per Austin Knoblauch of NFL.com) the five-time MVP has "told close friends that he expects" the Super Bowl to be his final game.
ESPN.com's report cited a source who said Manning did not tell the Broncos on Saturday night if he would be retiring.
Even if Manning had made up his mind about retirement, he probably would elect not to mention it during a team meeting before the biggest game most of his teammates will ever play.
Manning is 1-2 in Super Bowls, but a victory against the Carolina Panthers could rewrite his playoff legacy and help him make a decision about his future—if he hasn't already made one. Ware signed with Denver prior to the 2014 season with the hopes of reaching the big game, and this will be his first appearance on the NFL's biggest stage.
No wonder the pair was emotional during the Broncos' team meeting less than 24 hours before kickoff.