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Tom Brady Hopes Peyton Manning Returns Next Season

CHANDLER, Ariz. (CBS) -- When it's all said and done and their playing careers are over, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will unequivocally go down as two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever touch a football. While the debate has raged on for a decade and will continue to take place in the years following their retirements, the simple, agreeable fact is that the two are in a very special class of passers.

And though Brady came out on top this year -- beating Manning head-to-head and eventually making the Super Bowl, while Manning's Broncos fizzled out in the divisional round -- the Patriots' QB hopes the rivalry with Manning is not yet finished.

"What a great player he's been for this league, and he's a great competitor, and I've been fortunate to play against him a bunch of times," Brady said. "I certainly hope he comes back, because the league will miss him if he doesn't."

Manning will turn 39 years old in March, and he's coming off a season where his body broke down as the season wore on. After throwing 36 touchdowns and nine interceptions from September through November, he threw three touchdowns and six picks in December. In his lone playoff game, Manning threw for just 211 yards and a touchdown in a 24-13 loss to Indianapolis. After the game, it was reported that Manning was suffering from a torn quadriceps muscle, and the future Hall of Famer said he was not sure whether he'll return to play next year.

Brady, whose teams have gone 11-5 against Manning's team, seemed to understand the weight of Manning's decision this offseason.

"Those decisions are up to him," Brady said. "I'm sure it's up to whether he's mentally and physically, that's what he wants to do. But I certainly hope he comes back."

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here. You can email him or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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