“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. Peyton was everything that we thought he was and even more—not only for the football team but in the community.
“There’s no question that his work ethic is what made him into one of the great quarterbacks of all time. All the film study Peyton did and the process that he went through with game planning and understanding what the other teams did was second-to-none.
“Peyton was a player that guys wanted to play with. That made us better as a team, and I’m thrilled that we were able to win a championship in his final year. Peyton won a lot of awards and set a lot of records, but to me, what he helped our team accomplish during the last four years is what stands out the most.
“I’m very thankful Peyton chose to play for the Denver Broncos, and I congratulate him on his Hall of Fame career.”
Head coach Gary Kubiak also said it was a “blessing” to coach Manning.
“It was a blessing to coach Peyton Manning. Nobody worked harder at the game and nobody prepared harder than Peyton. His preparation was the best I’ve ever seen with how he went about his business. There was nothing like his work habits. Each and every week, he did everything he could to get ready to play not only against the defense but even against the coordinator.
“After competing against Peyton many, many times, I already had great respect for him. But being with him this season, going through what we went through and accomplishing what we accomplished—that was special. He and I battled together and along the way we talked about dreaming that it could end the way it ended. And I’ll be damned, it did.
“Peyton and I will have some interesting stories throughout the rest of our lives to talk about going through this year together. He’s a Hall of Fame player and a Hall of Fame person, and I wish him all the best in the future.”
- Jason La Canfora reports that the Manning informed the Broncos of his decision to retire Saturday night by calling John Elway, Gary Kubiak, and Joe Ellis to them individually.
- Adam Schefter reports that there was a part of Manning that would’ve liked to continue playing, after surveying his options, Manning felt stepping away was the best course of action.
The Broncos would have had to release him in the coming days had he not made a decision by Tuesday.
However, it’s been clear that the Broncos were ready to move on, and it wasn’t as though there was guaranteed to be a market for Manning even if he was a free agent.
In the end, Manning gets to go out on top as a Super Bowl champion, which is well deserved for one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
Manning, 39, was entering the final year of his five-year, $96 million contract that includes $18 million guaranteed. He was set to make a base salary of $19 million in 2016.
There’s no question that Manning is a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection.
Over the course of his 18-year NFL career, Manning threw for 71,940 yards to go along with 539 touchdowns and 251 interceptions for the Colts and Broncos.
He’s a two-time Super Bowl champion, a five-time MVP, a seven-time All-Pro first-team selection and has won the Offensive Player of the Year award twice and the Comeback Player of the Year award.