It wasn’t an unexpected development, but on Monday Peyton Manning officially retired from NFL football after 18 seasons. It was an emotional end to one of the most successful careers in NFL history. Manning couldn’t help but let the tears flow as he delivered a powerful prepared statement.
“In my very first NFL game, I completed my first pass to Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk. I threw a touchdown in that same game to Marvin Harrison, who would be inducted into the Hall of Fame this August,” Manning began.
There were plenty of thank-yous to go around, including for the Indianapolis Colts, the team Manning was a part of for the first 14 years of his career.
“Thank you to the Indianapolis Colts organization and all the fans across this country. You can’t fathom how much I enjoyed my 14 years there or the warmth that my family feels for you. I’d be wrong not to mention Jim Irsay, Bill Polian, some great coaches, support staff and a host of wonderful Colts teammates, many of whom will be lifelong friends.”
The most emotional part of the speech came at very end, when Manning’s voice cracked as he showed just how much football means to him:
“There’s a scripture reading, 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight and I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Well, I’ve fought a good fight. I’ve finished my football race and after 18 years, it’s time. God bless all of you and God bless football.”
You can read the entire transcript of Manning’s speech here, and I highly recommend you do so.
After he finished his speech, Manning took questions from reporters. When he decided it was time to end the press conference he did so in a way that shows why he had so many fans throughout his career.
1 final word.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 7, 2016
One last Omaha.