- (Photo: REUTERS/Brent Smith)
During Wednesday's press conference, Peyton Manning gave a tearful good bye to a state he said he loved and fans he said he would never forget.
The Colts owner, Jim Isray, announced Wednesday that the Colts would be releasing famed quarterback Peyton Manning, after he was unable to play during the 2011 football season due to neck injuries.
"I guess in life and in sports, we all know that nothing lasts forever," Manning said Wednesday. "Times change. Sports change. Circumstances change, and that's the reality of playing in the NFL."
Manning has played quarterback for the Colts for 14 years, earning four MVP awards and one Super Bowl title. In 2011, Manning signed a 5-year contract with the Colts for $90 million. To retain the NFL player, the Colts would have to pay out a $28 million bonus due to Peyton for the next year.
The Colt's decision to release Manning as a free agent will save the team $35 million. Manning confirmed that the decision was mutual and he held no hard feeling. "Jim and I have always been close," Manning remarked adding that he would be forever grateful to the man who made the decision to draft him back in 1998.
"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. I love the fans and I will always enjoy having played for such a great team," Manning said.
The Colts will have until Thursday to complete the transaction and release Manning from his contract. If made a free agent, Manning is open immediately to sign with a different team.
"I haven't thought about where I'll play, but I've thought a lot about where I've been," the quarterback reflected. "I've truly been blessed. I've been blessed to play here. I've been blessed to be in the NFL."
Manning also added a shout out to his fans. "A few words I would like to address to Colts fans everywhere: Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback."