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Panthers “don’t really care” if it’s Peyton Manning’s last rodeo

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 24: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos walks off the field after defeating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Patriots 20-18. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

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After the Broncos beat the Patriots last Sunday, a microphone on the field captured Peyton Manning telling Bill Belichick what many people have been thinking all season.

Manning said that this might be his last rodeo and, as his brother Eli pointed out this week, winning the Super Bowl would be a pretty good way to go out after a long career stuffed with accomplishments. The possibility that Manning will ride off into the sunset after Super Bowl 50 will make him a sentimental favorite for some people, although you’re not going to find too many of them in Charlotte.

“We don’t really care if this is his last game,” Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert said, via the Charlotte Observer. “He’s played what – 18, 19 years? He’s had enough, you know what I’m saying? It’s our turn.”

Tolbert’s teammate Tre Boston had a similar take on the possible end of Manning’s career a week from Sunday and employed pizza to help him make his point.

“So if a man has the last piece of pizza in the world, are you going to take that last piece?” Boston asked. “One of y’all got to live! One of us has to win, and I’m not trying to lose. It’s you and that one man. You gonna live or not? I’m trying to win. I don’t care who you are.”

It would be odd to hear anything else from the Panthers when faced with the question of how they’d feel about beating Manning in his last NFL game. They’d be much too busy celebrating with the Lombardi Trophy to give much thought to what the other team’s quarterback might be doing in September.