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Peyton Manning

Fights Back Tears --

I'm DONE In Indy

3/7/2012 8:57 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF


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Peyton Manning and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay have made it official ... Manning's playing days in Indy are over ... but the team plans to RETIRE Manning's #18 jersey, stat.

Fighting back tears ... an extremely emotional Peyton addressed Colts fans ... saying, "Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart, I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback."

Peyton -- who's been plagued with neck injuries -- said he's confident he'll play in the NFL again ... but says he hasn't thought about which team he'll join next.

Manning talked about his recovery ... saying, "I've got some progress to make ... but I've come a long way. I really enjoy being back out there."

Irsay -- who was equally emotional and also battled tears -- explained his decision to cut Peyton by saying, "[The Colts are] rebuilding a team with a salary cap problem."

Peyton was due to make a $28 million bonus with the Colts tomorrow as part of a 5-year $90 million deal -- but Irsay decided to release him before the payout.

Still, Irsay made it clear ... "The 18 jersey will never be worn again by a Colt on the field."

He continued, "We're here very much as well to honor all the incredible memories and incredible things that he's done for the franchise ... for the city ... for the state ... I can't thank [Peyton] enough."

A reporter asked why Peyton didn't retire as a Colt -- and Peyton replied, "I don't want to retire. I still want to play."

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!
85 COMMENTS

No Avatar
46.

Tamara    

I'm heart broken. I can't believe he is leaving the Colts. I know he loves what he does and i Hope if he decides to ever coach he will come home to UT. We miss you Peyton and you made me a colts fan. I will follow you were ever you go. That you for all the Great games! Love you and wish you the best. :)

773 days ago
47.

audrey50    

Why are so many posters calling Manning a rich crybaby? In this case, it seems to be more about team spirit, his relationships with players and management and feeling sad about leaving a job he loves. Not everything is about money. I don't have any either, but I would never call him a millionaire crybaby. C'mon people, grow up.

773 days ago
48.

Nicoleasm    

It's so hard to see a grown man like that cry..That alone made me cry

773 days ago
49.

jody mcgrath    

I am a 64 year old woman that never cared about football till Peyton. I can remember when the tallest thing in the city was the monument
Peyton put Indy on the map he is the best this city ever produced. As a leader football hero a wonderful example of what a young man should be. I love what he has done for our city. When he thanked us from the bottom of his heart I cried like a baby.I love you Peyton, and so does Indy. We thank you for all you did to show us a unsur passed hero!!!!!

773 days ago
50.

EarthAngel    

Well....as long as Irsay is retiring his jersey instead of giving him the 28 MILLION....that makes it all good. How lame was that statement.....

773 days ago
51.

Sean    

One word, Peyton...HOUSTON! A team that went to the playoffs with a 3rd string quarterback. A fantastic team in need of a fantastic QB! Plus, Houston is in the same division, so you could show them what a huge mistake they made!!

773 days ago
52.

fantasysportedge.com    

Many experts and analysts are picking Miami as the top choice. The Dolphins only have 10 million in cap space but they could easily redo some contracts to clear another 10 million. Peyton Manning signing here would give a huge boast to Anthony Fasano (Tight End), Brandon Marshall (WR), and Reggie Bush. Reggie Bush especially I believe will get the biggest boast in stats. Bush had the best year in his career in 2011, and those stats would only grow with so many more teams having to honor the pass threat of Peyton Manning, leaving some nice run lanes for Bush. Reggie Wayne now also a free agent is and there as been a lot of talk of him wanting to go to Miami as well. Problem with that is that is Miami already has Brandon Marshall. And I really doubt that Miami will be able to afford to sign Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne from free agency. I really enjoy the thought of Manning ending up in Miami and from the rumors floating around the league so does he.

I go into a few other teams on my blog http://fantasysportedge.com/peyton-manning-released-now-where/

773 days ago
53.

infohollywood    

15 years part of a team, leader of the team - separation is painful. Men who are critical of Peyton are not complete as far as their own masculinity. The myth of men not having the right to grieve is a barrier to male relationships with males and male relationships with female. In the tape you can see Payton struggle with the freedom to cry that is why it is so awkward.

773 days ago
54.

RoRo Walton    

I am not a fan of his by any stretch. But it was clear to me while watching his press conference that he loves this team, the city and most of all the game.

773 days ago
55.

footballisus    

Wow I hope he goes to the J-e-t-s Jets jets Jets We desperatly need a winner like him big time!

773 days ago
56.

Cowgirl    

I predict Peyton will never be as good again. Why? Because I've had that same surgery and never got the strength completely back in my fingers nor my arm. Pain is bearable after 5 years, but the arm was never the same. Would I let myself be tackled and risk further injury? Not in a million years, dude. He has little kids, a lovely wife, and 2 precious kids, besides enough money for the rest of his life. Why take the risk? He would make a wonderful coach, and that's what Indy should have done: hire him as head coach or offensive co- ordinator.

773 days ago
57.

DCMetroAreaMom    

Hey Peyton,

Can't believe Indy was that stupid but would love to have you in DC. We could use some clean, pure and wholesome!

VA Mom

773 days ago
58.

roger weldon    

Peyton Manning is an absolute class. He will play again, and Indianapolis will not be sorry until Luck turns out to be a flop.

773 days ago
59.

Lauren    

Awe...he lived just two blocks away from me and I ran into him a few times. Love you Peyton! Although I must say when he first came to Indy I was a waitress at a really well known place and he left NO tip and got angry all because an Indy fan noticed him. Don't think he knew how to react then. Boy, he sure has come far since then!! Love him!

773 days ago
60.

Marsha Hogan    

PEYTON WE LOVE YOU IN TENNESSEE - COME HOME BABY WE WELCOME YOU WITH OPEN ARMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

773 days ago
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