(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) - The Peyton Manning era with the Indianapolis Colts officially ended Wednesday afternoon with the release of the four-time NFL most valuable player.
Manning and Colts Owner Jim Irsay held an emotional news conference on Wednesday with both thanking the other and acknowledging the difficulty in parting ways.
Manning, who turns 36 later this month, started every game for the colts from 1998 through 2010. A neck injury sidelined him all of last season as the Colts fell from a team that made the playoffs for nine-straight seasons to a 2-and-14 squad that earned the number-one overall pick in next month's NFL draft.
In 14 seasons, Manning led the Colts to eleven playoff berths and two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl 41 following the 2006 season.
Manning promises to become one of the most sought-after free agents in NFL history as he hits the open market. Since he was released, he does not have to wait until the beginning of the free agent signing period on Tuesday to begin shopping his talents to other teams.
As for the Colts, they can begin rebuilding with a new quarterback - believed to be Stanford's Andrew Luck. With the number one pick in the draft, the Colts have been able to negotiate with Luck and other candidates for the top pick since last month's scouting combine. Those discussions are now likely to become public with the Manning situation now resolved.
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