In an emotional 20 minutes in front of the media horde in Indianapolis, Peyton Manning and Jimmy Irsay say good bye to each other and the last 14 seasons they’ve spent together as the icon and the owner of the Colts.
“To the fans of the Colts, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,” Manning said in a halting voice. “I truly enjoyed being your quarterback.”
Talk of what’s next for Manning was at a minimum; this was more of a good bye moment than a hello to the rest of his career.
“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.”
As always, Manning was in complete control of the situation, calling for a final question and shutting off the press conference while Irsay appeared a bit dazed as he stood next to his former quarterback.
But Manning made it very obvious that he plans to continue playing and has no desire to retire.
“I am confident; I’m throwing it pretty well,” Manning said. “I’ve still got some work to do, I’ve got some progress to make, but I’ve come a long way. I’ve really worked hard. I can’t tell you the hours and the time I’ve put into working hard. I really enjoy being back out there. I’ve had a chance to throw with some of my old teammates, guys like Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Austin [Collie], [Brandon] Stokley, [Jeff] Saturday’s snapped for me a couple times. That’s been the most fun part, being back there on the field. I’m feeling closer and closer.”