Peyton Manning said farewell to the only NFL team he has ever known in an emotional press conference today in Indianapolis.
The Colts released Manning, ending his 14-year career with the team. His time with them included 11 trips to the playoffs, ten 4,000-yard passing seasons, four MVP awards and one Super Bowl victory.
“This town and this team mean so much to me. It truly has been an honor to play in Indianapolis. I do love it here,” Manning said today during a press conference with Colts owner Jim Irsay. “I love the fans and I will always enjoy having played for such a great team.”
During the press conference Irsay announced that Manning’s number 18 jersey will be retired and broke down as he spoke about their time together.
“As difficult as this is, I know our journey hasn’t ended, it’s really just begun,” Irsay said. “I look down the road and see the many decades going forward that we’ll share together and how he’s always a part of the horseshoe.”
Manning missed last season with a neck injury that he suffered in the preseason. In his absence the Colts won only two games, earning them the number-one pick in the NFL draft.
The Colts will likely use that pick to sign either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, both star quarterbacks in college.
“I’ve been a Colt for almost all of my adult life, but I guess in life, and in sports, we all know nothing lasts forever,” Manning said. “Times change, circumstances change and that’s the reality of playing in the NFL.”
Despite no longer being with the Colts, Manning said he has no plans to leave Indianapolis.
“This city has been so great to me and it’s still a huge part of my life,” he said. “It’s kind of a departure from the Colts, but it’s certainly not from the great city of Indianapolis.”