After 18 years in the NFL, Peyton Manning is retiring.
Following the report about his plans to retire, the Denver Broncos made it official, with statements from team president Joe Ellis, GM John Elway, and head coach Gary Kubiak.
Though Peyton only played four seasons in Denver, he helped lead them to the Super Bowl twice, winning it in 2015 in Super Bowl 50. He also set the single-season passing yards and touchdowns record with the Broncos in 2013.
Elway, who helped lure Peyton as a free agent in 2012, called Peyton one of the great quarterbacks of all time, saying, he was everything the Broncos hoped he would be. Elway, one of the shrewdest GMs in the NFL, also helped build the dominant defence that carried Peyton through the season.
Kubiak only coached one season with Manning, and at times, his schemes were an awkward fit. However, he ultimately found the right balance on offence, and he contributed to the defence that helped the Broncos win the Super Bowl. Kubiak called it a “blessing” to coach Manning.
Here’s the Broncos’ full statement:
PRESIDENT & CEO JOE ELLIS
“The Denver Broncos are so proud to have called Peyton Manning our quarterback for the last four years, and we can’t thank him enough for his many contributions to our team and community.
“On the field, Peyton’s competitiveness, intensity and leadership helped us to one of the most successful periods in our history, highlighted by four consecutive division titles, two AFC Championship victories and a win in Super Bowl 50. Off the field, Peyton’s kindness and generosity, especially toward those in need, made a real difference on a very personal level.
“Our team, our organisation and our community are all better because of Peyton Manning. He raised the performance of those around him and raised the level of excellence here at the Broncos.
“Peyton’s been a first-class ambassador who did things the right way and had such a positive impact on the Broncos. We look forward to celebrating his future induction into both the Broncos’ Ring of Fame as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS/GENERAL MANAGER JOHN ELWAY
“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
“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 defence 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.”
Manning went out in storybook fashion. There will no doubt be an outpouring of love over the next few weeks for an all-time great quarterback.
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