Peyton Manning is no longer an Indianapolis Colt. Owner Jim Irsay announced today that they would be releasing the future hall of famer during an emotional press conference.
Irsay said, fighting back tears:
“There will be no other Peyton Manning. (He’s given the Colts) incredible memories and has done incredible things for the franchise, for the city, for the state.”
Manning has played with the Colts since he was picked Number 1 in 1998. Manning racked up four MVP awards and more than 50,000 yards for the Indianapolis team.
CBS notes that during the two decades before the Peyton Manning era, the Colts won 116 games, one division title, and made the playoffs three times. Peyton turned things around for the Colts as he lead the team to 150 victories, 8 division titles, two AFC championships and a Super Bowl win.
Manning missed most of the 2011 season due to an injury and Irsay decided to release him to avoid paying out a $28 million bonus. The Colts are expected to pick up Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick during the 2012 NFL draft.
“We all know that nothing lasts forever. Times change, circumstances change, and that’s the reality of playing in the NFL… This has not been easy for Jim and this has certainly not been easy for me… I’ll always be a Colt. I always will be. That’ll never change.”
Manning will now become a free agent and should be able to find a starting spot if he can remain healthy. Arizona, Tennessee, Miami, Washington, Seattle and the New York Jets have all been rumored to have interest in Manning.
Here’s a video of the press conference.
Do you think the Colts made the right decision about Peyton Manning? Where do you think Peyton will play next year?