Peyton Manning and wife did not want to leave Indy (Part 2)

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, shown holding the Vince Lombardi trophy after a 29-</p><br /><br />
<p>17 Super Bowl victory over the Chicago Bears, has taken his play and handling his celebrity status to</p><br /><br />
<p>new heights.

Photo by AMY SANCETTA, Associated Press

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, shown holding the Vince Lombardi trophy after a 29-
17 Super Bowl victory over the Chicago Bears, has taken his play and handling his celebrity status to
new heights.

Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, right, congratulates Florida defensive end Thaddeus Bullard after the Gators’ 33-20 win on Sept. 20, 1997.

Photo by Associated Press

Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, right, congratulates Florida defensive end Thaddeus Bullard after the Gators’ 33-20 win on Sept. 20, 1997.

_______________

I was told that both Peyton and his wife Ashley both wanted to stay in Indy with all the close friends they have made over the years at their church but it was not meant to be.

CNN reported:

(CNN) — A tearful Peyton Manning announced the end of his 14-year career with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, but said he plans to be playing in the NFL again.  

________

I remember like yesterday coming up to Nolan Rollins who was a minister on the staff at the First Baptist Church of Little Rock and saying to him, “I got to see your Tennessee Vols play in person the other day.” He turned around and looks happy and then I told it was in Memphis and his expression changed. That night Tennesse lost 21-17 for the first time ever to the Tigers.

In a press conference with Colts owner Jim Irsay, the four-time NFL Most Valuable Player said circumstances had brought his time with the Colts to an end, despite both the wishes of him and Irsay that things could have worked out differently.  

The fears surrounding the week after Alabama were realized in 2005 when the Vols lost to South Carolina on a night</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>when the jersey of former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, center, was retired.

Photo by Saul Young

The fears surrounding the week after Alabama were realized in 2005 when the Vols lost to South Carolina on a night
when the jersey of former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, center, was retired.

_________________

“It wasn’t his decision. It wasn’t my decision. Circumstances kind of dictated it,” Manning said.  

Manning did not play during the entire 2011 season after having surgery to repair a neck injury. With their longtime leader off the field, the Colts plummeted to a 2-14 record and earned the top pick in April’s NFL Draft. That makes Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Baylor QB Robert Griffin III available to them. Both are considered franchise quarterbacks, much like Manning was when the Colts selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft. The Colts are expected to take Luck or Griffin and begin to rebuild the team.  

Irsay said Wednesday keeping Manning during that rebuilding process wouldn’t be fair to Manning and would prevent the team from having the money necessary to revamp its roster. The Colts would have owed Manning a $28 million bonus if he’d remained on their roster past Wednesday.  

“Just to sign our draft picks, we’re going to have to make more roster moves,” Irsay said. Manning deserves better at the end of a Hall of Fame-level career, he said.  

Former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning leaves the field prior to the start of the game against Western Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2009 at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning leaves the field prior to the start of the game against Western Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2009 at Neyland Stadium.

________________________

“Hopefully, we’ll watch Peyton win immediately,” Irsay said.  

Manning’s doctors have cleared him to play for the 2012 season and he’s been seen recently working out at Duke University. The quarterback said he plans to be on the field in the coming season.  

“I don’t want to retire… Nobody loves playing quarterback more than me,” Manning said.  

The Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals are considered the top contenders to sign Manning.  

In the meantime, the Colts will retire his jersey number.  

“The 18 jersey will never be worn again by a Colt on the field,” Irsay said.  

Both Manning and Irsay choked up as they made the announcement that Manning would continue his NFL career elsewhere.  

This town and this team mean so much to me,” Manning said. “I do love it here.”I’ve been blessed to play here and been blessed to be in the NFL,” he said, his voice breaking. “I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback.” 

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley with Peyton Manning before the start of the game against UT Martin Saturday, Sep. 4, 2010 in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

Photo by Michael Patrick

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley with Peyton Manning before the start of the game against UT Martin Saturday, Sep. 4, 2010 in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

__________________

Though his team will more than likely have another potential superstar in Luck or Manning, Irsay said Manning has defined the franchise.  

“There will be no other Peyton Manning,” he said, choking up as he held the quarterback’s arm.  

Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz says fans will be angry with Irsay for letting the pride of the city and the state leave town.  

“It’s impossible to overstate the civic impact Manning had on this franchise, on this city and on this region. He did it not only as an athlete but as a philanthropist. He was, and still is, the most important athlete ever to grace the playing fields of Indianapolis,” Kravitz wrote Wednesday morning.  

In 1999, Manning and his wife established the PeyBack Foundation in Indianapolis to help disadvantaged youth. It has donated more than $4.3 million since its founding to youth causes in Indiana, Tennessee and Louisiana, according to the foundation’s website.  

In 2007, in honor of Manning’s work, St. Vincent Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis was renamed Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.  

“There will be lots of tears today at that news conference,” Kravitz writes. “Without No. 18, the Colts might not still be in Indianapolis. Certainly, there’s no Lucas Oil Stadium, and there’s no Indianapolis Super Bowl. His impact is incalculable.  

“The statue goes up immediately,” Kravitz says.  

In the cities that covet Manning, it was websites and billboards that were going up.  

In Miami, there was manningtomiami.com, complete with Manning depicted in a Dolphins uniform, a link to a petition to be presented to Dolphins owners and a shop to buy Manning in Miami T-shirts.  

“When’s the last time we the fans have had an ‘impact’ quarterback? What about the most cerebral quarterback of all time?” the Miami site asks. “Get behind this movement and let your vote be your voice and make a difference!”  

In Phoenix, the peyton2az website showed a picture of a billboard erected in the city by a local mattress retailer. “Peyton Manning, please sleep here,” it pleaded.  

“The city will be his forever if he could bring a Super Bowl to the Valley of the Sun,” a commenter wrote on the site.

Former Tennessee coach Johnny Majors introduces his grandsons Owen, 10, and Tristan, 14, Majors to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning before the start of the UT Martin game Saturday, Sep. 4, 2010 in Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Michael Patrick

Former Tennessee coach Johnny Majors introduces his grandsons Owen, 10, and Tristan, 14, Majors to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning before the start of the UT Martin game Saturday, Sep. 4, 2010 in Neyland Stadium.

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Did you know that Peyton and Ashley Manning had kids?

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Peyton Manning and wife did not want to leave Indy (Part 3)

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Peyton Manning and wife did not want to leave Indy (Part 2)

Photo by Saul Young The fears surrounding the week after Alabama were realized in 2005 when the Vols lost to South Carolina on a night when the jersey of former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, center, was retired. _________________ “It wasn’t his decision. It wasn’t my decision. Circumstances kind of dictated it,” Manning said.   Manning did […]

Peyton Manning and wife did not want to leave Indy (Part 1)

See larger Photo by Jim Mone / AP Photo Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver Reggie Wayne in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008 in Minneapolis. The Colts came from behind to win 15-12. ______________ I remember like yesterday […]

 
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