INDIANAPOLIS — Colts owner Jim Irsay announced Wednesday that his team will release quarterback Peyton Manning, making the four-time MVP perhaps the most-coveted free agent in NFL history — if he’s healthy enough to play in 2012.
Both men paused frequently to fight tears, with their voices shaking, when they appeared together at a news conference at the Colts’ team complex to announce the end of Manning’s 14-year tenure in Indianapolis. The team had a deadline of Thursday to pay Manning a $28 million bonus and exercise the four remaining years on the five-year, $90 million contract he signed before last season, or release him outright.
“This is difficult because of the things Peyton has done for our city, our state and our franchise,” Irsay said. “There will be no other Peyton Manning.”
Irsay said Manning’s No. 18 “will never be worn again by a Colt on the field.”
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