Peyton Manning's farewell statement
Quarterback Peyton Manning is leaving the Colts after a 14-year career that included one Super Bowl title and four MVP awards. Here's the complete statement he made to reporters Wednesday:
"I sure have loved playing football for the Indianapolis Colts. For 14 wonderful years, the only professional football I've known has been Colts football. Our team has won a lot of games here, I've played with so many great teammates here and I've been part of a great organization here - an organization and an owner who I respect and continue to respect," Manning said.
"I've been a Colt for almost all of my adult life but I guess in life and in sports, we all know that nothing lasts forever. Times change, circumstances change, and that's the reality of playing in the NFL. Jim and I have spoken extensively about where we are today and our conversations have led both of us to recognize that our circumstances make it best for us to take this next step. This has not been easy for Jim and it certainly has not been easy for me," he said.
"Jim, along with Bill Polian, drafted me 14 years ago. Jim and I have always been close. We've made a lot of great memories together. He's always been good to me, and Jim, I will be forever grateful."
"This town and this team mean so much to me. It truly has been an honor to play in Indianapolis. I do love it here. I love the fans. I'll always enjoy having played for such a great team," Manning said as he fought back tears. "I will leave the Colts with nothing but good thoughts and gratitude to Jim, the organization, my teammates, the media and especially the fans."
"I haven't thought yet about where I'll play, but I have thought a lot about where I've been. I've truly been blessed. I've been blessed to play here. I've been blessed to be in the NFL. And as I go, I go with just a few words left to say...a few words I want to address to Colts fans everywhere. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback. Thank you."