NFL franchise look to build for the future with the legendary quarterback and former MVP still recuperating from a neck injury.
Peyton Manning is released by Indianapolis Colts
Peyton Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts after a career stint with the franchise that included a Super Bowl win in 2006 and four league National Football League MVP awards, the team said last night.
Manning, 35, missed the entire 2011 season after neck surgery last September and was due a $28 million (Dh103m) bonus if the club had decided to keep him.
“We’re here to announce the conclusion of Peyton’s playing career with the Colts,” Jim Irsay, the Colts owner, said during an emotional news conference in Indianapolis.
“We’re here very much as well to honour all the incredible memories and incredible things that he’s done for the franchise.”
Doctors have cleared Manning, who broke all of the team’s career quarterbacking records and never missed a start before last season, to resume his career and he has resumed training.
The Colts, who had a league-worst 2-14 record during Manning’s absence, have the No 1 overall pick in April’s NFL draft, where Andrew Luck, the Stanford quarterback is widely expected to be the top choice.
Manning led the Indianapolis Colts to their only NFL championship and transformed a basketball-loving city into a football hotbed that hosted the Super Bowl.
His release means he will become a free agent and – if healthy – certainly will draw interest from other teams.
Arizona, Miami, Tennessee, Washington and the New York Jets all have been rumoured as possible destinations; Manning’s former offensive coordinator in Indianapolis, Tom Moore, worked for the Jets as a consultant last season.
Manning had said his goal was to play his entire career with the Colts, but a damaged nerve forced him to have neck surgery.
He started every meaningful game for 13 seasons in Indianapolis – 227 in a row – and took the Colts from perennial also-ran to one of the NFL’s model franchises.
He was drafted from the University of Tennessee in 1998 and after a 3-13 rookie season, posted a 138-54 record over the next 12 seasons.
Manning is one of four players with more than 50,000 yards passing, one of three with more than 350 touchdown tosses, and one of two quarterbacks with more than 200 starts in a row
He leaves as the Colts as their all-time leader in touchdown passes (399), and yards passing (54,828). He also threw for more than 4,000 yards in a season an NFL record 11 times.