After one of the greatest careers in the history of American sports, 18-year-veteran Peyton Manning took to the podium in Englewood, Colorado today to announce that he leaving football behind. Manning got emotional at different points throughout his address, and after remarks from Broncos owner John Elway and head coach Gary Kubiak, the future Hall of Famer fought back tears to remember highlights from his career.
In a room decked out in Manning jerseys and memorabilia from his four seasons in Denver, Manning emotionally told the gathered the crowd, “I love the game… You’ll never have to wonder if I miss the game. I will. I always will.” The two-time Super Bowl champion opened his remarks by remembering his very first game as a young quarterback in Indianapolis, lined up against the gridiron legend he identified as his “favorite player second only to my father: Dan Marino.”
Predictably, the always affable Manning managed to inject a dose of humor into his press conference, joking at one point about the opposing AFC rival fans in New England. “I’ll even miss the Patriots fans up in Foxborough,” said Manning emotionally. “And they should miss me. They sure scored a lot of wins off of me.”
Manning is finishing his career with two Super Bowl championships to his name, one with the Indianapolis Colts and one with the Broncos, as well as five NFL MVP Awards. He was elected to 14 Pro Bowls and was the 2013 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, throwing a total of 71,940 passing yards for first all-time in NFL history, slightly edging ironman Brett Favre. Manning also threw 539 touchdowns in 266 career games.
Manning ended his remarks simply, telling the crowd, “I have no regrets… I fought the good fight… After 18 years, it’s time.”
Watch the above video in two parts from ESPN.
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