ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
DENVER (AP) — The Denver Broncos received their diamond-encrusted championship rings Sunday night at a private party celebrating their Super Bowl title.
Injured cornerback Aqib Talib and outside linebacker Von Miller, mired in a contract stalemate, both attended the ceremony.
Peyton Manning, who retired a month after the Broncos’ 24-10 victory over Carolina, sported his new ring on his right hand and the one he won with the Colts in 2007 on his left.
The Jostens rings, topping 5.05 carats, were packed with 212 diamonds set in a 10 karat white-and-yellow-gold ring. They feature the Super Bowl 50 logo and the team’s three Lombardi Trophies placed above the team’s logo on a field of pave-set diamonds.
The Bronco mane and eyeball were created from orange sapphires while the head features pave-set diamonds and custom-cut corundum blue stone. The sides feature 56 stones representing the team’s 56-year history and the top and bottom edges each feature 15 stones to mark the team’s 15 wins during the 2015 season and their 15 titles.
One side features the player’s name and number and the other features an image of the Lombardi Trophy, which is surrounded by the words “This one’s for Pat,” which GM John Elway said after the game in honor of team owner Pat Bowlen, who is fighting Alzheimer’s.
“It’s very special to win that championship for him and his family this year,” Manning said. “It’s very special. These don’t go away. I pulled out my Indianapolis Colts ring tonight. Hadn’t worn it in nine years. I wore it for about two weeks after we received our rings in the summer of 2007, and then I’ve had it in storage. So I pulled it out tonight.”
The Broncos’ ring, Manning noted, “is more than twice the size. In 10 years, these rings will blow out someone’s shoulder.”
“It’s a beautiful ring,” Miller said. “It took everyone to get this.”
The final commemoration of their crown comes amid offseason tumult for the Broncos.
Talib missed the teams’ trip to the White House last week after getting shot in Dallas one day earlier. He’s recovering from bullet wounds to his right leg and could face legal consequences and league discipline over the firearms incident.
The contract situation with Miller turned acrimonious last week when Elway pivoted to dealing with Emmanuel Sanders and Brandon Marshall following a rejection by Miller’s camp of a proposal. The offer included a June 7 deadline even though the collective bargaining agreement calls for a July 15 deadline for franchised players to sign a contract.
The Broncos’ six-year, $114.5 million offer would have been the largest ever for a non-quarterback, but the true value is the guaranteed portion: $38.5 million over the first two years with a third season at $19.5 million guaranteed only against injury.
Miller’s side is seeking more than $60 million in guaranteed money. They cannot negotiate with anyone else because the Broncos used their exclusive franchise tag on the Super Bowl MVP.
Miller then cropped Elway out of a photo taken at the White House and originally posted to Instragram by DeMarcus Ware. The original photo showed Miller, Elway, Ware, Peyton Manning and coach Gary Kubiak.
The sides have a little over a month to work things out or Miller would have two options: play for the franchise tag of $14 million or sit out the 2016 season.
For one night at least, the Broncos put aside everything else to commemorate their championship season one last time.
Ware said the ring reminded him of how the Broncos laid the groundwork for a great season with hard work last summer.
“One thing I always talk about is symbol of iron sharpens iron,” Ware said. “I sort of think that we molded that iron to the Vince Lombardi Trophy and to this ring that we have right now.”
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
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