After 18 years at the quarterback position for both the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos, and two Super Bowl rings later, Peyton Manning has decided to call it a career.
Peyton Manning’s retirement speech (you can read a full transcript by clicking here, via ESPN), was a speech that mirrored the former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback’s entire career; classy, and legendary.
“You won’t have to wonder if I’ll miss it,” Manning said in his farewell press conference at the Denver Broncos training facility on March 6. “Absolutely. Absolutely I will. Our children are small now, but as they grow up, we’re going to teach them to enjoy the little things in life because one day they will look back and discover that those really were the big things.”
Those little things? “I’m going to miss a steak dinner at St. Elmo’s in Indianapolis after a win. My battles with players named Lynch, Lewis, Thomas, Bruschi, Fletcher, Dawkins, Seau, Urlacher, Polamalu, Harrison, Woodson and Reed. And with coaches like Fisher, Ryan, Belichick, Kiffin, Phillips, Rivera, LeBeau, Crennel, Capers, Lewis, the late Jim Johnson, and so many more. I always felt like I was playing against that middle linebacker or that safety or that defensive coach.”
Though held in Denver, Manning spent a good amount of the press conference reflecting on his 14 years in Indianapolis.
“When I was drafted by the Colts, Indianapolis was a basketball and a car racing town but it didn’t take long for the Colts to convert the city and state of Indiana into football evangelists,” Manning said when speaking of his former city. “You can’t fathom how much I enjoyed my 14 years there or the warmth that my family feels for you.”
What Manning will do following his first offseason without football remains to be seen. Manning graduated from Tennessee with a major in speech communication, so it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Manning wind up a talking head on one of the big sports talk networks. However, what happens in the near future will happen. For now, the league says “thank you” to one of the greatest to ever play the game. To a quarterback who revolutionized the position. Thank you, Peyton, for 18 great years.