The nation won’t have to wait long to see Peyton Manning in a Broncos uniform.
Manning’s first game as Broncos quarterback will come in prime time as Denver hosts Pittsburgh on the opening Sunday of the NFL season. The four-time MVP was released by Indianapolis after missing the 2011 season following neck surgery. After conducting a four-city lottery for his services, Manning landed in Denver, which hasn’t won a Super Bowl since his new boss, John Elway, was behind center.
“We’re excited about that. Anytime you have a guy behind the center named Peyton Manning, you’re going to get a lot of attention,” Elway said.
Manning won’t have an easy assignment against the Steelers, who ranked first in overall defense and against the pass last year.
Pittsburgh’s season ended in Denver in January when Tim Tebow threw an 80-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime in their wild-card playoff game. Manning presents a whole different challenge.
“Hopefully we can back up the playoff game that we had last year,” Elway said.
Steelers at Broncos is one of four prime-time games in the league’s kickoff week, Sept. 5-10. The schedule, released Tuesday, has the Super Bowl champion Giants hosting the Cowboys in the first Wednesday NFL game since 1948; the league moved the game to avoid a conflict with President Barack Obama’s Thursday night speech at the Democratic National Convention.
“We will have a week-in and week-out challenge, not only in who we play, but with the different elements of our schedule,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “We play on four different days and we have five night games. Our first three games are Wednesday-Sunday-Thursday. We play two road night games early, come home for a week and then go to San Francisco.”
The now-traditional Monday night opening doubleheader has Cincinnati at Baltimore, followed by San Diego at Oakland.
The Giants have re-signed middle linebacker Chase Blackburn, a key to their run to last season’s Super Bowl title. Also a special teams leader, Blackburn was out of football last year until late November, when the Giants brought him back following injuries to other linebackers. … Linebacker Larry Grant and wide receiver Brett Swain have signed one-year contracts to remain with the 49ers. … Linebacker Gary Guyton has signed with the Miami Dolphins after spending the past four seasons with New England. … Browns wide receiver Jordan Norwood has signed his tender as an exclusive-rights player. Norwood made four starts for Cleveland last season. He caught 23 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown.