Official: Peyton Manning retires from the NFL

It’s been the talk of the offseason since the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 last month: would QB Peyton Manning retire or try to give it another year? He has now reached a decision, and he will officially be announcing his retirement on Monday. Manning told the team this morning.

After 18 years in the league — 13 with the Colts, four with the Broncos and a missed 2011 season due to injury — Manning leaves the game with two Super Bowl titles, five NFL MVP awards and a number of other NFL records, including career touchdown passes, career passing yards, most wins (regular season and postseason) by a starting quarterback, most MVPs and single-season records for passing touchdowns and passing yards. It is quite a resume for the 39-year-old quarterback — who will turn 40 on March 24 — who is also the only quarterback to win Super Bowls with two different teams.

Looking to the future, the questions now turn to what the Broncos will do at quarterback for 2016 and beyond and what Manning will do now that his playing career is over. For the Broncos, QB Brock Osweiler, who started seven games for the team this season, is a free agent, and they will likely have to come to agreement on a contract with him to avoid having to start over with a quarterback brand new to the team. As for Manning, he can likely get a job working for any network that broadcasts NFL games, if that is the path he decides to take. There is also speculation that he wants to get into a management, or even ownership, position with an NFL team. Basically, whatever he chooses, he should be able to do it.

Broncos president/CEO Joe Ellis, executive vice president of football operations/GM John Elway and head coach Gary Kubiak all released statements regarding Manning and his retirement, which can be seen in full at the end of this post. The team also put together a video, titled “Thank You, Peyton,” showing highlights of the quarterback’s tenure with the team. It can be seen below.

Full statements from the Broncos

President & CEO Joe Ellis

“The Denver Broncos are so proud to have called Peyton Manning our quarterback for the last four years, and we can’t thank him enough for his many contributions to our team and community.

“On the field, Peyton’s competitiveness, intensity and leadership helped us to one of the most successful periods in our history, highlighted by four consecutive division titles, two AFC Championship victories and a win in Super Bowl 50. Off the field, Peyton’s kindness and generosity, especially toward those in need, made a real difference on a very personal level.

“Our team, our organization and our community are all better because of Peyton Manning. He raised the performance of those around him and raised the level of excellence here at the Broncos.

“Peyton’s been a first-class ambassador who did things the right way and had such a positive impact on the Broncos. We look forward to celebrating his future induction into both the Broncos’ Ring of Fame as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS/GENERAL MANAGER JOHN ELWAY

“When you look at everything Peyton has accomplished as a player and person, it’s easy to see how fortunate we’ve been to have him on our team. Peyton was everything that we thought he was and even more—not only for the football team but in the community.

“There’s no question that his work ethic is what made him into one of the great quarterbacks of all time. All the film study Peyton did and the process that he went through with game planning and understanding what the other teams did was second-to-none.

“Peyton was a player that guys wanted to play with. That made us better as a team, and I’m thrilled that we were able to win a championship in his final year. Peyton won a lot of awards and set a lot of records, but to me, what he helped our team accomplish during the last four years is what stands out the most.

“I’m very thankful Peyton chose to play for the Denver Broncos, and I congratulate him on his Hall of Fame career.”

HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK

“It was a blessing to coach Peyton Manning. Nobody worked harder at the game and nobody prepared harder than Peyton. His preparation was the best I’ve ever seen with how he went about his business. There was nothing like his work habits. Each and every week, he did everything he could to get ready to play not only against the defense but even against the coordinator.

“After competing against Peyton many, many times, I already had great respect for him. But being with him this season, going through what we went through and accomplishing what we accomplished—that was special. He and I battled together and along the way we talked about dreaming that it could end the way it ended. And I’ll be damned, it did.

“Peyton and I will have some interesting stories throughout the rest of our lives to talk about going through this year together. He’s a Hall of Fame player and a Hall of Fame person, and I wish him all the best in the future.”

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