Pondering retirement as he neared his 38th birthday, John Elway insisted he wouldn't play basketball with his buddies in a series of games he stages in conjunction with his annual charity golf tournament.

"That lasted one game," Elway said, admitting his competitive urges overcame him.Concluding that he wasn't ready to be fitted for a rocking chair, the Denver Broncos' quarterback ended four months of speculation on Monday by announcing he will play one more season, his 16th in the NFL.

Elway said the lure of possibly repeating as Super Bowl champion proved irresistible.

"The bottom line is, I wasn't ready to quit competing," Elway said. "I could not imagine sitting around and not doing anything while still being relatively young."

The basketball game convinced him he "could not sit on the sideline and not compete. I think that was what finally got me over the hump. I've got a lot of years to live in retirement, and the last thing I want to do is pass up the opportunity to play one more year of football. That's all I've ever done, and that's going to be over soon enough.

"I just wanted to take one last year and really enjoy it. We've got a great football team, and it will be fun to be defending world champions. Everybody will be gunning for us, but I think we're good enough to handle that."

His decision was welcomed by teammates and coaches, as well as by owner Pat Bowlen, whose campaign to build a new stadium figures to benefit from Elway's continued play.

At a press conference, Elway said he made his decision early last week after conferring with his wife, Janet, and father, Jack. He informed Bowlen and coach Mike Shanahan of his decision Thursday night, during festivities for his golf tournament.