Peyton Manning: Tom Brady apologized for email barb

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Peyton Manning says Tom Brady apologized to him — unnecessarily — after taking a shot at him in recently released emails.

Brady’s exchange with a childhood friend last November was contained in documents released as part of the NFLPA’s lawsuit on behalf of Brady seeking to quash his four-game suspension.

In it, Brady, wrote: “I’ve got another 7 or 8 years. He has 2.”

Manning said after Wednesday’s practice that Brady was just joining the public conversation predicting when he’ll retire.

“Everybody’s been speculating on that for a long time, so I guess he’s joining the list,” Manning said in his first public comments since the emails were published last week.

Manning, a five-time MVP, is 39, a year older than Brady, who owns four Super Bowl rings to Manning’s one.

In another email exchange, this one coming after the Patriots’ rout of the Broncos in a November game, a different friend of Brady’s took his own shot at Manning, saying Denver’s QB “needs things to be perfect to succeed, weather, his system, etc.” The friend also noted how well Brady was moving around.

“We are some hard working grinders beav,” Brady responded. “That’s what our team is all about. Our best is still ahead of us.”

Manning shrugged it all off.

“Hey, Tom sent me an apology text that was unnecessary,” Manning said. “The fact that his emails got revealed doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. So, no harm, no foul. And (I) didn’t think a lot of it.”

Besides, Manning said, the barbs were rather innocuous.

“Someone said I was roasted. I mean, I’ve been roasted before. That is not a roast,” Manning said. “… I can promise you that email was Amateur Night compared to some of the things people really said about me.”

Manning limped through the stretch run last year with a right quadriceps injury and the Broncos were bounced out of the playoffs by Indianapolis.

A week later, Brady led the Patriots past the Colts for the AFC title and then led them past Seattle in the Super Bowl.

The league, however, blamed Brady after finding footballs were deliberately underinflated during the first half of the AFC championship game, and he was suspended.

The NFL sued two weeks ago asking for a federal court to declare that its punishment of Brady was properly carried out. The players’ union countersued, asking him to nullify the suspension.

On Wednesday, Brady and Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared in Judge Richard M. Berman’s courtroom in Manhattan for the first hearing in the civil case.

On the field, Brady and Manning meet for the 17th time Nov. 29 in Denver. Brady has won 11 of the 16 previous matchups, 10 of which were in New England. And they’re 2-2 in the playoffs.

Manning is running a new offense that mixes his best attributes with coach Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme. Instead of the shotgun, Manning has mostly been under center or in the shotgun with a running back behind him for the play-action passes. He’s also been running plenty of bootlegs and roll-outs and has looked reinvigorated.

Arguably, the biggest play of camp so far was Manning’s run last week that drew a roar from the crowd, chuckles from the side judge and looks of astonishment up and down the sideline.

“Biggest play of camp? A 1-yard gain?” Manning chortled. “Our standards are really lowered around here.”

Actually, fans love seeing him on the move again after watching him hobble through the final six games last season and Denver’s playoff loss to Indy with a torn right quadriceps.

“Yeah, I do feel good. I’ve had a good offseason of training and kind of body maintenance, health, nutrition,” Manning said. “I’ve done some things differently and leaned down a little bit. And so I do feel good moving out there, arm feels good.”

Last week, Demaryius Thomas said, “There’s almost more zip on his ball. You can notice it. He threw a couple posts, probably 50, 60 yards, and I’m like, ‘Whoa.’”

Manning said there wasn’t anything he cut out of his diet completely, at least not “anything that I love.”

Copyright 2015 AP. All rights reserved.

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