Peyton Manning coming back for more would be a sad sight indeed

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SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos is seen during Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 602536555

Peyton Manning reportedly wants to keep playing football, a bad idea for him and a bad idea for us, the viewing public.

There isn’t much left in his tank, as his performance for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 proved, and he should be content with winning the last game he ever played. Not many players get that opportunity.

But the guess here is that Manning doesn’t like how he’s going out – with questions swirling about human growth hormone deliveries to his home and with a 20-year-old sexual harassment claim against him being resurrected.

Behind the aw-shucks veneer is a man who cares deeply about his public image, the one built up through countless TV commercials. He’d like you to remember him as a football player, and the best way to do that would be to put the pads back on. Dumb. And dangerous.

“He’d like to keep playing,’’ Schefter said. “In a perfect world, he’d like to keep playing. The question is, who’s going to give him an opportunity? And it’s tough to identify that team right now that’s willing to sign him to the deal that makes it worthwhile for him, that allows him to continue playing.’’

Please don’t say the Bears. As much of a crapshoot as Jay Cutler is at quarterback, at least he can get out of harm’s way. Manning has the mobility of a Steinway, with a somewhat better arm.

The idea of a beaten-up Manning getting beaten up even more might appeal to some people, but not to those of us who fail to see brain-injury roulette as a spectator sport. You’d think Manning would have the self-awareness to see that his career is over and that he’s lucky to be able to walk away with his body intact. He turns 40 later this month.

But he wouldn’t be the first athlete to miss the neon reminders that it’s time to hang up the cleats, and he wouldn’t be the last. He wouldn’t be the last to have other considerations pushing him to play one more year.

Let’s hope the market makes the decision for him.

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