Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley (14) catches a pass during training camp at the Broncos Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
How could they, back in February, have pictured that come November they'd be connecting for touchdowns during a run toward the playoffs with the Denver Broncos?
Back then, Manning was an Indianapolis Colt and in the early stages of working back into playing shape after a series of neck surgeries. Stokley was unemployed, injured and on the verge of retirement. His wife, Lana, was telling friends and relatives Stokley's football career was over.
While Manning is an MVP candidate in his comeback season, Stokley's comeback is just as remarkable, if not even more improbable. At 36, and with five regular-season games left, Stokley has 36 catches for 449<TH>yards - his best numbers since 2008 - and five touchdowns.
He has become the 11th player in NFL history 36 or older with at least 30 catches and five touchdowns in a season.
Stokley's most recent touchdown came two weeks ago in Denver, as he lined up in his familiar slot position, faked out a San Diego Chargers defensive back and sprinted, uncovered, to the end zone. It was an easy throw for Manning and an easy catch for Stokley.
(Copyright © 2012 USA TODAY)