Thursday, March 8, 2012

Peyton Manning Next Team

Peyton Manning Next Team, Peyton Manning is getting an early glimpse into life as a free agent. Hours after a tearful, trying farewell news conference in Indianapolis, Manning flew back to his home in Miami and was immediately peppered with questions about his next landing spot. He’d better get used to it. The scene is likely to play out at every destination he visits until he decides where to play next season.

Quarterback Peyton Manning, who will be released by the Indianapolis Colts, speaks during a news conference in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Manning, 35, who missed all of last season after a series of operations on his neck, has been the Colts’ staring quarterback for 13 seasons, won a record four MVP awards and the 2006 Super Bowl.

“I haven’t thought about teams and I don’t know who is interested, I really don’t. This is all new to me,” Manning said. “I think my agent has been getting calls at 4 o’clock today since this started. I haven’t talked to him because I literally just got off the plane and am ready to start back on my training again because that’s what I need to do.”

If Manning is healthy, he’ll be the hottest commodity to hit the open market in decades: a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with Hall of Fame credentials.

After the Colts decided not to pick up Manning’s $28 million bonus, team owner Jim Irsay ended months of speculation by releasing the 14-year veteran and longtime face of the franchise. Indianapolis is likely to find Manning’s replacement in April’s draft, presumably Stanford’s Andrew Luck; the Colts have the first overall pick.

For Manning, Irsay and Colts fans, it was heart-wrenching saying goodbye.

Irsay and Manning exchanged hugs, laughs and even took turns fighting back tears during a news conference at the Colts’ team complex. The room is normally used for celebrations such as hiring coaches or general managers or retirements, and it’s decorated with banners of the Colts’ greatest players. Manning’s banner is flanked by two Hall of Famers, Eric Dickerson and John Mackey.

But this was a sad occasion, filled with emotion.

“I do love it here, I love the fans and I will always enjoy having played for such a great team. I will leave the Colts with nothing but good thoughts and gratitude to Jim, the organization, my teammates, the media and especially the fans,” Manning said, his voice cracking. “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.”

At age 35, the man who won one Super Bowl, a record four MVP awards and who helped the Colts land a new stadium and the city’s first Super Bowl is starting over.