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Peyton Manning Released

March 8, 2012 by staff 

Peyton Manning Released, Sent packing by his only NFL team, one he transformed from afterthought to Super Bowl champion, Peyton Manning said goodbye to the Indianapolis Colts with a shaky voice and tear-filled eyes, then got ready to find a new place to play quarterback.

At a podium alongside owner Jim Irsay, who cut the injured star Wednesday rather than pay a whopping $28 million bonus due this week, Manning was by turns wistful, nostalgic and forward-looking.

The only four-time MVP in NFL history now figures to become as coveted a free agent as the league has ever seen, assuming he can assuage any lingering concerns about the series of neck operations that forced him to miss the 2011 season. Arizona, Miami, Seattle, Tennessee, Washington, and the New York Jets all have been rumored as possible destinations.

“Nobody loves their job more than I do. Nobody loves playing quarterback more than I do. I still want to play. But there is no other team I wanted to play for,’’ said Manning, who turns 36 this month.

Still, he acknowledged, “We all know that nothing lasts forever. Times change, circumstances change, and that’s the reality of playing in the NFL.’’

Another reality: Manning should command plenty of offers on the open market. It’s not very often that teams get a crack at a quarterback who’s thrown for more than 50,000 yards and nearly 400 touchdowns, been picked for 11 Pro Bowls, and been a Super Bowl MVP. Manning’s importance to the Colts’ success was never more apparent than last season, when their record plummeted to 2-14 without him.

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