AFC Playoffs: Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (18) on sidelines during game vs Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Denver, CO 1/12/2013 CREDIT: John Biever (Photo by John Biever /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X156010 TK1 R3 F64 )
(ASSOCIATED PRESS) -- Peyton Manning's stunning return from four neck surgeries has netted him The Associated Press 2012 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.
The four-time league MVP guided the Broncos to the AFC's best record, 13-3, in his first season in Denver. Before sitting out 2011, Manning had never missed a start in his first 13 seasons with Indianapolis.
Manning received 31 1-2 votes Saturday from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. He easily beat Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who got 17 1-2 votes after his comeback from major knee surgery. Peterson came within 9 yards of the NFL rushing record and helped Minnesota go from 3-13 to 10-6 and a wild-card berth.
Kansas City RB Jamaal Charles got one vote.
Manning accepted his award Saturday night at the "2nd Annual NFL Honors" show on CBS saluting the NFL's best players, performances and plays from the 2012 season.
By BARRY WILNER AP Pro Football Writer