Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is retiring and he made the right choice.
A month after the Broncos’ triumph over the Carolina Panthers, Manning informed Broncos GM John Elway that he is riding off into the sunset. Just like what Elway did 17 years ago after winning his second Super Bowl. Manning will announce his retirement at a press conference on Monday, marking the end of an 18-year career.
“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,” Elway said in a statement. “Peyton was everything that we thought he was and even more — not only for the football team but in the community. I’m very thankful Peyton chose to play for the Denver Broncos, and I congratulate him on his Hall of Fame career.”
“Peyton Manning’s extraordinary career was driven by his talent, an incredible work ethic, and an unwavering desire to be the best and ended so perfectly for him with a Super Bowl victory,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “Peyton’s competitive fire and love of the game made him a legendary player who thrilled fans for a generation. He has served as a great representative of the NFL both on the field and in his community. We are forever grateful for Peyton’s unmatched contributions to the game and know that his success will continue in the next phase of his life.”
Manning’s decision was expected. What else does he have to prove? He’s got five NFL MVP awards, two Super Bowl rings, he passed for more yards (71,940) and more touchdowns (539) than anyone in league history. He is the first and only quarterback to achieve 200 career wins (regular and postseason).
History will remember Manning first as an Indianapolis Colts icon. But we’ll also remember Manning prominently as a Broncos too, and that’s incredibly rare. This is no doubt a perfect send-off for the 39-year-old QB. There’s no reason Manning should continue to play.
He is going to be 40 this month, making him the oldest quarterback to play in a Super Bowl. With a multitude of injuries, most notably a torn plantar fascia in his left foot, he won’t be able to throw the football like an NFL caliber quarterback anymore.
And If Manning decided to continue his career and play in 2016, things could get ugly as the Broncos have reportedly been preparing for Manning’s retirement for more than a year now and appear ready to move forward with backup quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Also, Manning has been involved with some controversial stories, such as using performance-enhancing drugs, specifically, in his case, human growth hormone and a lawsuit by an associate trainer who said that Manning “pulled down his pants and exposed himself to me as I was bent over examining his foot.” Both of these stories are going to be examined with more scrutiny and could become a significant parts of the chronicling of Manning’s last ride.
So good call, Manning. Now is the time to say goodbye and hang up your cleats, for the sake of your body and reputation.