NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The Indianapolis Colts held a press conference Wednesday to announce that they will part ways with quarterback, Peyton Manning, after 14 years. Due to a neck injury, Manning did not play for the entire 2011 season. The long-time Colts quarterback was due a $28 million roster bonus on March 8.
“We are here to announce the conclusion on Peyton’s career with the Colts,” said Colt’s owner Jim Irsay taking the stage. “We are here to honor the incredible memories and the incredible things he has done for the franchise, for the city, for the state.”
Manning stood by Irsay’s side while he explained the long, difficult process of coming to this conclusion. “We both wanted to be together,” said Irsay. “It’s been very difficult and just tearing at our hearts to find the best solution. In the end, the circumstances were too difficult to overcome.”
“The 18 jersey will never be worn again by a Colt on the field,” said Irsay. “There will be no other Peyton Manning. We have been so blessed to have him,” Irsay said tearing up.
Irsay then handed over the podium to an emotional Manning. “I sure have loved playing football for the Colts,” said Manning. “The only football I know is Colts’ football.”
Despite the circumstances, Manning remains grateful to the team that started his professional career. “I haven’t thought about where I’ll play, but I have thought about where I’ve been,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to play here.
“Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.”
ESPN radio show hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic of “Mike and Mike in the Morning” interviewed NFL analyst Bill Polian for his thoughts on the subject earlier today. Polian was the former manager of the Indianapolis Colts, but more importantly, he was the man who drafted Manning back in 1998. During the brief interview, the two hosts covered Manning’s past, present and possible future. Polian commended Manning for his superb skills, great athleticism and immense knowledge of the sport.
“He was a great athlete with a very strong arm. His football intelligence was unsurpassed,” Polian noted.
The two radio hosts continued to question Polian on how he would handle the situation if he were drafting him today. Polian stated he would talk with the doctors, look at all the physical records, give him a physical examination and tell Manning to check out whomever they use as an expert on cervical injuries. Polian also repeatedly stated that “the questions wouldn’t be about football because that [his skills] is pretty self-evident”.
Polian believes Manning, if he were to play for the NFL again, should be placed in “an organization that really wants to win and is committed to winning, a team that has the right values.”
Staff writer Christine Chien contributed to this report.
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