DENVER (247 SPORTS) – When he takes his first snaps under center for the Denver Broncos, newly-minted quarterback Case Keenum will seek to pick up on the winning ways that Peyton Manning left the Broncos with at the end of the 2015 season. Given that he and the two-time Super Bowl Champion are already in-contact, he may very well be on the right track.
On Wednesday night, an evening where he was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, Manning stated that he has been communicating with Keenum, and that the two may meet together over a round of golf sometime in the future.
“He said he wanted to pick my brain on a couple things,” Manning said, as reported by Aric DiLalla of the Broncos’ official website. “I just told him I’m here as a resource. I pull for quarterbacks. I really do. It’s a unique fraternity and I’m excited for the opportunity for him.
“He’s got a chance to play with some great players and what he did last year in Minnesota was really special. I know Broncos fans kind of hope to see some of that same magic here this year.”
Manning and Keenum go back well before Keenum was signed to join the Broncos after a Cinderella 2017 season where he went from the Minnesota Vikings’ third-string quarterback to leading the team all the way to the NFC Championship Game. The two had previously spent time together at the Manning Passing Academy, which Keenum participated in while playing at the University of Houston.
“I’m a big Case Keenum fan,” said Manning. “…He’s a hard worker. He’s really been a winner all his life — high school or college. What a great opportunity for him, and I’m certainly pulling for him.”
As it stands, Keenum is projected to be the Broncos’ starting quarterback after the team signed him to a two-year, $36 million contract in free agency.
Few could have envisioned Keenum in his current position at the start of the 2017 season, as he has battled long odds since entering the National Football League in 2012. Joining the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent, Keenum bounced back-and-forth between the Texans and St. Louis Rams rosters. In 2016, Keenum began the season as the starting quarterback of the Rams when the team moved back to Los Angeles, but struggled and was promptly benched for No. 1-overall draft pick Jared Goff. Keenum then joined the Vikings in the offseason, and was slated to serve as the third-string quarterback once Teddy Bridgewater returned from injury. However, once starting QB Sam Bradford was injured following a Week One victory, Keenum assumed the role of starting quarterback for the Vikings. He excelled, completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 3,547 yards with 22 touchdowns to only seven interceptions.
Keenum authored perhaps the greatest play in Vikings franchise history, “The Minnesota Miracle”, and led the team all the way to the NFC Championship Game.