Peyton Manning leaving Colts
Peyton Manning led the Indianapolis Colts past the Chicago Bears to win Super Bowl XLI.
March 7th, 2012
12:48 PM ET

Peyton Manning leaving Colts

[Updated at 12:48 p.m. ET] A tearful Peyton Manning announced the end of his 14-year career with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, but said he plans to be playing in the NFL again.

In a press conference with Colts owner Jim Irsay, the four-time NFL Most Valuable Player said circumstances had brought his time with the Colts to an end, despite both the wishes of him and Irsay that things could have worked out differently.

"It wasn't his decision. It wasn't my decision. Circumstances kind of dictated it," Manning said.

Manning did not play during the entire 2011 season after having surgery to repair a neck injury. With their longtime leader off the field, the Colts plummeted to a 2-14 record and earned the top pick in April's NFL Draft. That makes Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Baylor QB Robert Griffin III available to them. Both are considered franchise quarterbacks, much like Manning was when the Colts selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft. The Colts are expected to take Luck or Griffin and begin to rebuild the team.

Irsay said Wednesday keeping Manning during that rebuilding process wouldn't be fair to Manning and would prevent the team from having the money necessary to revamp its roster. The Colts would have owed Manning a $28 million bonus if he'd remained on their roster past Wednesday.

"Just to sign our draft picks, we're going to have to make more roster moves," Irsay said. Manning deserves better at the end of a Hall of Fame-level career, he said.

"Hopefully, we'll watch Peyton win immediately," Irsay said.

WISH-TV: Where Manning may go next

Manning's doctors have cleared him to play for the 2012 season and he's been seen recently working out at Duke University. The quarterback said he plans to be on the field in the coming season.

"I don't want to retire... Nobody loves playing quarterback more than me," Manning said.

The Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals are considered the top contenders to sign Manning.

In the meantime, the Colts will retire his jersey number.

"The 18 jersey will never be worn again by a Colt on the field," Irsay said.

Both Manning and Irsay choked up as they made the announcement that Manning would continue his NFL career elsewhere.

"This town and this team mean so much to me," Manning said. "I do love it here.

"I've been blessed to play here and been blessed to be in the NFL," he said, his voice breaking. "I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback."

Though his team will more than likely have another potential superstar in Luck or Manning, Irsay said Manning has defined the franchise.

"There will be no other Peyton Manning," he said, choking up as he held the quarterback's arm.

CNNMoney: Manning to remain endorsement star

[Updated 12:11 p.m. ET] Quarterback Peyton Manning announced Wednesday he will not return to the Indianapolis Colts for the 2012 season.

"This town and this team mean so much to me," Manning said. "I do love it here.I will leave the Colts with good thoughts," he said.

"I've been blessed to play here and been blessed to be in the NFL," Manning said, his voice breaking.

"I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback," Manning said.

Manning said he has not determined where he will play next.

Colts owner Jim Irsay said he hates to part with Manning, but the team doesn't have the resources to surround Manning with the players that will make him successful.

"It's be very difficult for both Jim and I," Manning said."It's weighed real heavy on my heart but I am at peace with it," he said of the decision.

He said he and Irsay remain close and have supported each other during the decision-making process.

[Updated 12:03 p.m. ET] Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and team owner Jim Irsay announced Wednesday that Manning will end his 14-year career with the team.

Irsay the called the announcement "a difficult day of shared pain" in a noon news conference.

He said Manning's number would be retired by the only team he's ever played for.

"The 18 jersey will never be worn again by a Colt on the field," Irsay said.

"There will be no other Peyton Manning," Irsay said, choking up as he held the quarterback's arm.

[Posted 7:28 a.m. ET] Four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning is expected to announce today that he will be leaving the Indianapolis Colts, the only team he has played for in his 14-year career.

Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay are scheduled to appear at a noon ET press conference in Indianapolis to make the announcement.

The two flew into Indy from South Florida together on Tuesday night, according to media reports.

"We'll see ya'll tomorrow. We're gonna talk tomorrow," Irsay told reporters after arriving in Indianapolis, ESPN.com reported.

"We're going to do this the right way. We'll talk to you guys tomorrow," Manning said, according to CNN affiliate WISH-TV. Wednesday morning, Irsay tweeted, "It was a long, emotional flight ... now the sun is trying to rise." The Colts will release Manning rather than pay him a $28 million bonus he is due on Thursday if he remains on the Indianapolis roster.

Manning was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NFL draft by the Colts. He became their starting quarterback that year and led them to 11 playoff berths, two conference championships and one Super Bowl victory.

But Manning sustained a neck injury during the 2010 season and was forced to sit out the entire 2011 season after having surgery to fuse vertebrae in his neck.

The Colts plummeted to a 2-14 record without Manning, which gained them the first pick in April's NFL draft. They are expected to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck or Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III with that pick. Both are considered franchise quarterbacks, like Manning was when the Colts took him No. 1 in 1998.

Although he's expected to leave the only pro team he has played for, Manning's career is far from done. His doctors have cleared him to play and he's been working out at Duke University. He'll become a free agent and is expected to be sought after by several teams. Among the favorites to land the 35-year-old QB are the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans. ESPN reports that Manning is expected to work out for select teams once he narrows his choices.

Colts fans were sad to see their city's shining star on his way elsewhere.

"I wouldn't be nearly as big a fan without him," CNN affiliate WTHR-TV quoted fan Aly Wiggs as saying.

"I'm disgusted. Manning is who Indianapolis is. He's our identity and what he's done for the community. He's more than a football player," Bob Nellish told WTHR.

Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz says fans will be angry with Irsay for letting the pride of the city and the state leave town.

"It's impossible to overstate the civic impact Manning had on this franchise, on this city and on this region. He did it not only as an athlete but as a philanthropist. He was, and still is, the most important athlete ever to grace the playing fields of Indianapolis," Kravitz wrote Wednesday morning.

In 1999, Manning and his wife established the PeyBack Foundation in Indianapolis to help disadvantaged youth. It has donated more than $4.3 million since its founding to youth causes in Indiana, Tennessee and Louisiana, according to the foundation's website.

In 2007, in honor of Manning's work, St. Vincent Children's Hospital in Indianapolis was renamed Peyton Manning Children's Hospital. The city's Children's Museum, Boys and Girls Clubs, and high school football players have all been helped by Manning, according to a WTHR report.

"There will be lots of tears today at that news conference," Kravitz writes. "Without No. 18, the Colts might not still be in Indianapolis. Certainly, there's no Lucas Oil Stadium, and there's no Indianapolis Super Bowl. His impact is incalculable.

"The statue goes up immediately," Kravitz says.

In the cities that covet Manning, it was websites and billboards that were going up.

In Miami, there was manningtomiami.com, complete with Manning depicted in a Dolphins uniform, a link to a petition to be presented to Dolphins owners and a shop to buy Manning in Miami T-shirts.

"When's the last time we the fans have had an 'impact' quarterback? What about the most cerebral quarterback of all time?" the Miami site asks. "Get behind this movement and let your vote be your voice and make a difference!"

In Phoenix, the peyton2az website showed a picture of a billboard erected in the city by a local mattress retailer. "Peyton Manning, please sleep here," it pleaded.

"The city will be his forever if he could bring a Super Bowl to the Valley of the Sun," a commenter wrote on the site.

Time.com: Colts dump Manning, everyone wins

SI.com: Icons at the end of the road

SI.com: Rare Manning pictures

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Filed under: Football • Indiana • Peyton Manning • Pro football • Sports
soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. Deeznutz

    That's what the Colts get for stealing them from Baltimore. They are now and for the future the bottom feeders of the NFL.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Amused by the venom

      How empty is your life for you to still be bitter about a business decision made by the owner of a football team 25 years ago who could care less if you even exist? Can you pinpoint the precise moment in time when your life and ability to be objective slipped away, or has it been a gradual progession downhill for over two decades? "Rooting for the home team" is honorable and appropriate, but you and people like you represent everthing wrong with the fans of athletic teams. Go back to the bar and have a few more.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • DocCutty

      And Deeznutz, what does Baltimore deserve for stealing the Browns?

      March 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. This_blank

    Conspiracy theory #10010: Irsay trying to lower attendance in indy so he can move franchise to L.A. Where he originaly wanted to go when he turned his back on baltimore

    March 7, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ian Monam

    All good things must end. With a little 'Luck", maybe the Colts will become a contender again. It has been a great run though, and I wish him well with his new team.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Luck is not Peyton... it will take time to develop a leader like Peyton was... a good arm doesn't mean everything in a QB... look at Tebow. I wish Luck luck... lol

      March 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. I can't believe is not butter

    He sucks

    March 7, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Monkey

    What a huge mistake!

    March 7, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. DE

    The Irsays are, and were, real lowlifes.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. kaneda

    Hope new Colts QB will get some luck, because he needs it. Luck needs to be 1000x better than Ryan Leaf or Vince Young or Isray is going down as the biggest idiot in football history..

    March 7, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. larry5

    He's going to end up in Miami. They've got the money under the cap and they need a Q-back and that's where Peyton's house and family are. Sometimes things just work out for the better.

    March 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dont be a sucker

    My prediction...He'll be in Miami...we have the BIGGEST history of taking on old players with injuries and or Busts, with the ASININE belief that they will "turn us around"

    may present exhibit A:

    Steve Etman-knees
    Thurman Thomas...old
    Junior Seau...old..snapped arm
    Lawrence Phillips....lol
    Chad Pennigton...shoulder
    Trent Green....brain
    Daunte Culpepper....knees
    Cris Carter...old

    anyone know of more ? ? ? please add to the list

    March 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iverson

      Are you insinuating that those players on that list are anywhere NEAR as good or dominant in their position as Peyton is as an NFL quarterback? Please.

      March 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Katie

    You can't play football forever, and no one deserves the kind of money they were paying Manning. I don't care how good you are at what you do, that kind of salary is obscene.

    March 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. This_blank

    @amusedbythevenom dont dilude yourself into thinking i am an FN baltimore fan! THEY ARE ENEMY #1. The worst wanna-be copy cats i have ever SEEN! My intention was to twist an article about peyton in a chance to degrade & slander baltimore so before you think your too clever remember you are dancing to the beat of MY drum pal!

    March 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amused by the venom

      Thank you for making my point. The only thing more senseless than your post is your rabid, over the top obsession with your local sporting team. Why not go on down to your local bar and start a fight with a guy wearing the wrong team's jersey? I think the beating of your own drum is not the only odd noise inhabiting your head.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tom

    "Colts owner Jim Irsay said he hates to part with Manning, but the team doesn't have the resources to surround Manning with the players that will make him successful."

    Manning's selfishness cost him a couple of rings and cost him a place on the colts. His agent would always start negotiations , "Peyton will be the highest paid player in football."

    March 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Portland tony

    Manning is from a football family dynasty. He will try and will play until he's too old to get off the bench. Sadly he may run one play too many and wind up a twisted caricature of his former self. Yet he knows his limitations, his health and ability to play. Lets hope his love for the game doesn't blind him to the facts! Good luck Peyton Manning. It was indeed a pleasure to have watched you play!

    March 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • realtalker1

      He's 35 portland. not 80. He's certainly had a long career in football terms but he isn't washed up just yet. I agree his time is running out but he's probably got 4 or 5 good years left in him. Favre played til he was 40 and he took much worse hits than Manning. And Favre was really never very good. He just played so long that naturally he broke a few records. Manning actually has talent.

      March 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Hey Lebron! Want to see what "class" looks like in making such a difficult move? Peyton should be your role model. He didn't avoid his owner, his fans, etc. He actually appreciated the team owner and the fans. He didn't announce it on a narcissistic tv show and a text to his team owner. Way to go Peyton!

      March 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      @real... Agree.....It's his damaged upper back...X number of operations and a year off...thats the unknown and may shorten his career.

      March 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kristi

    This must be the first time in his life precious peyton hasn't gotten his way about something so sure it stings. Never fret though, Archie will buy him another super bowl before his time is up.

    March 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kimberly

      Look here Peyton Hater Kristi...You have obviously NEVER watched Peyton play...he doesn't need daddy or anyone else to "buy Him a Superbowl". And just so you know, you don't have to read anything regarding Peyton..so you won't feel compelled to take time from your "precious" life to respond

      March 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • LaGurl

      You clearly don't know anything about football! If Archie could buy Superbowls, he would have gotten one for himself years ago. Don't hate because you don't uderstand!

      March 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Graced

      If you think Archie Manning a) has the money to rig Super Bowls, and b) he's unethical enough to do so, then you are the Supreme Idiot of the Galaxy. You're a real toad, either way. Peyton Manning has God given talent that the Colts were lucky enough to have for 14 years. Look into medication, honey, you are seriously messed up.

      March 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Colts owner Jim Irsay said he hates to part with Manning, but the team doesn't have the resources to surround Manning with the players that will make him successful.

      Peyton's selfishness cost you guys a couple more super bowls. he always needed to be the highest paid player.

      March 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nik

      Be proud, very proud. Of all the stupid comments on here you are, by far, the stupidest!!!!

      March 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      As an Indy citizen, you can believe me wyej I say Peyton is as incredible human being as he is anfootball player. Everyone in this city is hurtingnright now. Shame on you for such a mean comment.

      March 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • navynursemom

      Your disdain is palpable, has he personally wronged you? Regardless what team a person supports, a genuine football fan can appreciate what Peyton has brought to the game, the NFL and entertainment in general, plus he is known to be a very good and generous person. What have you done for society?

      March 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      *when

      March 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nik

      @Anna – had a few more to fix then just the *when, just saying

      March 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • MikeD

      Hey, Tom, his history is that he renegotiated his contract so other players could receive pay they deserved. Do you just say anything that comes into your head and sounds insightful? Or maybe you're a slimy trolly, eh?

      March 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jon

    Doesn't he already have more money than he could ever spend??

    March 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
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