New Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning smiles during a news conference at the NFL Denver Broncos headquarters in Englewood, Colo. , on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. (AP Photo)
Newly-signed Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning holds up a jersey for reporters during an NFL football news conference at the team's headquarters in Englewood, Colo. , on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. (AP Photo)
DENVER - New Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said he's on the mend but still has work to do to get back to full health after a series of neck operations that forced him to miss last year.
Manning said "I have work to do" on Tuesday, when he was introduced as Denver's new quarterback.
"I'm not where I want to be. I want to be where I was before I was injured. There's a lot of work to do to get where we want to be from a health standpoint."
Manning said he "laid his cards out on the table" when he spoke to Broncos vice president John Elway and was grateful that Denver, along with San Francisco, Tennessee and others, were willing to consider him to be their next QB.
The league's only four-time MVP agreed to a five-year, $96 million deal with the Broncos after being pursued by several teams.
The agreement ends a wild chase for perhaps the most valued free agent in the history of the NFL, a quarterback who has won an unprecedented four league MVP awards and took the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2007.
It also represents a huge coup for Broncos executive and Hall of Fame QB John Elway, and could spell the end of young quarterback Tim Tebow's career in Denver.
ESPN and the NFL Network first reported on the completion of the Manning deal.
Manning turns 36 on Saturday and missed all of last season because of multiple neck operations, which made him expendable to the rebuilding Indianapolis Colts. They cut him March 7 rather than pay a $28 million bonus.
Manning had met and worked out for the Broncos, the Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers last week. All three teams had Manning checked out by their team doctor. Manning had told all three teams that he still has gains to achieve in terms of arm strength and endurance that are related to nerve regeneration due to his neck injury.
Colts owner Jim Irsay wished Manning the best with his new team in a statement released Tuesday.
"I congratulate Peyton as he heads to a tremendous organization in the Denver Broncos. We wish him nothing but the best as he continues his Hall of Fame career," Irsay said.
Under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, Manning is not allowed to engage in classroom football discussions with the coaching staff until April 16.
He will not be allowed to use the team's football field under the supervision and instruction of the coaching staff until May 2. Any throwing sessions under the supervision of trainers that are considered part of his rehab may not involve current Broncos receivers until April 16. He can throw independently with Denver receivers without coaching supervision or instruction but it must be away from the facility until the allowable voluntary window opens per the CBA.
With Manning joining the Broncos, oddsmakers in Las Vegas immediately made Denver one of the top choices to win the Super Bowl next season, which will be played in Manning's hometown of New Orleans.
(The Associated Press and ESPN contributed to this report.)