Denver Broncos: Veteran Receiver Brandon Stokley Wants to Return

Jon Heath@ IFebruary 1, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 15:  Brandon Stokley #14 of the Denver Broncos celebrates his touchdown with Chris Kuper #73, Eric Decker #87 and Orlando Franklin #74 to take a 28-24 lead over the San Diego Chargers during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on October 15, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos fell short in their quest for a Super Bowl run in 2012; veteran receiver Brandon Stokley wants to come back and help them get their next season.

“I’d love to be back,” Stokley told on Wednesday.  “I still love this game and still have the passion to play. So we’ll see what happens.”

Stokley, 36 years old, almost didn't play this season.  If not for quarterback Peyton Manning landing in Denver, Stokley probably would have retired.

“Without him, I wouldn’t have played this year,” Stokley said of Manning. “There’s no doubt I’d be retired, probably about 20 pounds heavier, so, yeah, I owe him a lot for this year and a lot for my career in general. Coming from Baltimore, going to Indy, that kind of sparked my career, playing with him. Yeah, I owe the guy a lot.”

As Denver's slot receiver last season, Stokley hauled in 45 passes for 544 yards (12.1 yards per catch) and scored five times.  Providing a smart, veteran presence for the Broncos' younger receivers, Stokley was one of Manning's favorite targets in 2012.

After going 13-3 in the regular season, Denver fell to the Baltimore Ravens 38-35 in double overtime in the divisional round of the playoffs.  That's not how Stokley wants his career to end.

“Like I said, this is about the only thing I do halfway decent, so for me, why not?” Stokley said. “I feel like I still love it, I still love competing and I still love playing football, so hopefully I’ll get another opportunity.”

Stokley is going to be a free agent this summer.  But after displaying his chemistry with Manning last season, the former Colts receiver appears likely to be brought back by Denver, if he does decided to return.

As of today, it looks like Stokley will be coming back. Cue Gus Johnson.