After 14 seasons in Indianapolis, Peyton Manning is officially looking for a new home.
Colts’ owner Jim Irsay announced on Wednesday that the team will release the four-time MVP, and an emotional Manning thanked the team and city as he bid adieu in a press conference.
“Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I have truly enjoyed being your quarterback” Manning said
Irsay, who was also fighting back tears told the audience that #18 will never be worn by a Colt again.
Irsay and Manning both stressed that the $28 million due to Manning was not an issue, and that his contract could have been restructured, but with his health in question and the team in rebuilding mode, it was time to move on.
While Manning becomes a free-agent, the fight for his services heats up. There are numerous team that are expected to go after Manning, including the Washington Redskins. Miami, Seattle, and Arizona are also expected to be major players.
“I will leave the Colts with nothing but good thoughts and gratitude,” Manning said. “I haven’t thought yet about where I’ll play but I have thought a lot about where I’ve been. And I’ve truly been blessed. I’ve been blessed to play here.”
Since Manning was released, and his contract did not expire, he is free to sign with any team right away. He does not have to wait to the March 13th free agency period.