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Report: Peyton Manning Played with Torn Quad

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Just hours removed from Peyton Manning's 13th playoff exit, some interesting news suddenly surfaces.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Peyton Manning Excuse Machine is up and running with terrifying efficiency less than 24 hours after the greatest product endorsing quarterback of all time exited the playoffs yet again.

According to Adam Schefter, Manning tore his right quad in a game against the Chargers, and he has been playing with it ever since:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Broncos QB Peyton Manning played Sunday’s Divisional Playoff loss and the past month of the season with a torn right quad, per two sources.</p>&mdash; Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) <a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/554667776384589824">January 12, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Anyone who has seen Manning play over the last few weeks has noticed that he just hasn't been the same quarterback as of late. His throws are soft, his spirals are wobbly, and he has been making poor decisions. Many were simply saying that he is done, that it's time to retire and save yourself another season of wallowing in mediocrity when you have been so good for so long; but maybe that isn't the case now. Maybe Manning's playoff exit might be leg-related.

To be completely fair, Manning's injury may have 100% hampered his play. It may absolutely have been the reason his throws looked so noodly and why he simply wasn't the same guy. There may very well be a lot of legitimacy to that argument. You throw with your legs and hips just as much as you do your arm, so I can't with any real confidence say that the quad had nothing to do with how things shook out for Manning and the Broncos.

My only question is: why now? Why suddenly release that Manning was hurt so soon after his ninth one and done?

It all seems a bit convenient to me that these sources suddenly leaked this info almost immediately following the loss. I suppose you could make the case that Denver was trying to keep things close to the vest, and now that they are done for the year there is no reason for secrecy, but the whole thing seems a bit suspect to me. If I had to guess, I'd say that this was a prime example of the Manning Apology Machine hard at work, an outlet for analysts to take in order to rationalize why the man whose jockstrap they have been so carefully hand washing for the past two decades suddenly looks like that jockstrap has holes in all the wrong places.

This isn't on Manning, either; the man is a competitor, and someone who would never make excuses about the reason he lost that doesn't involve throwing his O-line or receivers under the bus. I'm sure if you ask Manning today if his injury hampered him in any way, he would tell you no, that the loss is on him and his play, not his injury, so you really can't knock Peyton for the news magically breaking today. It just seems a bit convenient that the reports all surface right now, just following this loss, in order to deflect some of the playoff talk that has been swirling around Peyton for much of his career.

But you know what the best part about this article is? It isn't even remotely relevant to the New England Patriots and I have no business whatsoever reporting it. And you know why?

Because we're on to Indianapolis.