The Indianapolis Colts announced on Wednesday that they will release Peyton Manning, allowing him to become a free agent. The announcement was expected from those knowledgeable of the situation. The decision to let Manning go simply shows that loyalty is an outdated concept in today’s society. “We all know that nothing lasts forever,” Manning said. “Times change, circumstances change, and that’s the reality of playing in the NFL.” Manning single-handedly propelled the Colts’ franchise from a 3-13 record in 1998 to yearly contenders for the Super Bowl. The 11-time Pro Bowler holds many career passing records in the NFL, even though he still has years left to play. Manning invested in the franchise for 14 years, giving everything he has to make them the best they could be. The decorated quarterback led the Colts to a 141-67 record during his 14 seasons, leading them to two Super Bowl appearances, winning it in 2006. He is widely regarded as the best quarterback of his era; some experts even believe he is the greatest to play the position. Manning has been the face of the NFL for a number of years, being a positive ambassador for the game of football. But now, in 2012, they have decided to turn their back on this legendary player and person, opting to instead revamp their franchise is hopes for the future. “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.” The Colts will likely select QB Andrew Luck of Stanford with the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Although Luck is very comparable to Manning, being an extremely smart, gifted player, he will likely need a few years to adjust to the high level of play in the NFL. The Colts’ decision to move ahead with Luck shows that the Colts’ feel no sentimental connection to Manning, even after all he has given to them. An emotional Manning said goodbye to Indianapolis, ending his statement by saying, “Thank you very much, from the bottom of my heart. I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback.” Manning said he fully intends to be playing in the NFL next season. The Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets all have been rumored as possible destinations for Manning. Manning said that he has not yet thought about where he’ll play next, but he plans on having significant dialogue with interested teams before he makes a decision on where to go. Until then, sports fans everywhere will eagerly follow updates of his decision, waiting to know which team’s colors to don next season.
By Carson Roberts