INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts today elected not to exercise the contract option on four-time MVP and 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning, thus terminating him and making him an unrestricted free agent.
Manning, a 14-year veteran, missed the 2011 season following neck surgeries. The medical procedures for Manning started since the end of the 2009 season. Manning was scheduled to enter the second year of a five-year contract signed prior to the 2011 season.
"Today is a very difficult day for every Colts fan," said Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay. "Peyton Manning has meant so much to the organization, the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana and to Colts fans worldwide. We salute Peyton for all he has accomplished on and off the field, and we wish him health and happiness as he moves forward.
"Peyton represented what we aspire to have in our players. He promised to win for the Colts years ago, and he did. His achievements are as notable as those of any athlete in any sport, and I offer him my sincerest thanks for his outstanding service and example."
Manning joined the Colts as the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and directed 13 memorable seasons with Indianapolis that included eight division championships (1999, 2003-07, 09-10), three AFC Championship game appearances (2003, 2006, 2009), two conference titles (2006, 2009) and a World Championship in Super Bowl XLI.
Manning completed 4,682-of-7,210 passes for 54,828 yards with 399 touchdowns and 198 interceptions in setting virtually every club passing record.
Manning is the only NFL player to open a career with 13 consecutive 3,500 -yardage and 25 -touchdown seasons. He started the first 208 games of his career, an NFL career-opening record at any position, and his consecutive games streak marked the second-longest ever by an NFL quarterback. He is one of 11 players ever to start 200 consecutive regular season games.
After a 3-13 rookie season, Manning helped the Colts produce a 10-game turnaround in 1999 on the way to the AFC East title. It marked then the best one-season improvement in NFL history. In 2000, Indianapolis went 10-6 and earned a second straight playoff berth (the first for the franchise since 1976-77), and it started what would become the winningest decade in NFL regular season history. Indianapolis rolled to a record of 115-45 (.719), the most victories by team in any NFL decade. Ten franchises have combined to produce the 13 100 -victory decades in the NFL history.
Manning was a part of 141 victories, the most by any Colts player. He is one of 11 NFL quarterbacks ever to top 100 career starting wins. His victory total ranks fourth among NFL quarterbacks, and his victory total with one team has been surpassed only by three other players (160, Brett Favre, Green Bay (186 overall); 148, John Elway, Denver; 147, Dan Marino, Miami).
In addition to being the most glamorous Indianapolis professional athlete, he helped project the Colts onto a national stage as prominently as the franchise ever had been in its history dating back to 1953. Manning ranks third in NFL history in completions, yards and touchdowns. His 11 double-digit victory total seasons are the most by any quarterback in the Super Bowl era, while nine consecutive years in that category (2002-10) are an NFL record. Manning owns an unprecedented 11 4,000 -yardage seasons, and he helped Indianapolis achieve a record seven different offenses featuring a quarterback with 4,000 yards and a rusher and a receiver each who topped 1,000 yards. The feat has been accomplished but 39 times in the NFL's 92 seasons, and never as often as by the Colts. Manning produced the 13 best Colts seasons in completions and yards, the 12 best seasons in attempts, the 10 best seasons in games with a touchdown pass, 12 of the 13 best seasons in completion percentage and 13 of the 15 best seasons in touchdown passes. Manning owns the club seasonal marks in completions (450, 2010), attempts (679, 2010), yards (4,700, 2010) and touchdowns (49, 2004), and he owns six of the club's seven 30 -touchdown seasons. Twice (at New Orleans, 9/28/03; at Detroit, 11/25/04) he tossed six touchdown passes in a game, and he threw for five in four other outings. He is one of six NFL players to twice throw for six scores in a game.
Manning was at the helm when the Colts won a franchise seasonal-record 14 games in 2005 and 2009, and he helped the club become the first in NFL history to win 11 and 12 games in seven consecutive seasons (2003-09). He also helped the club become the only one in NFL history to win seven or more consecutive regular season games in six consecutive years (8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 9, 2008; 14, 2009). Manning helped engineer the team to start 5-0 in 2003, 13-0 in 2005, 9-0 in 2006, 7-0 in 2007 and 14-0 in 2009. In its decade of achievement (2000-09), the Colts set the NFL record with 23 consecutive regular season wins.
Manning helped lead the Colts to 400 points in 10 of 12 seasons from 1999-2010. He helped direct the club to 13 consecutive seasons with 5,000 net yards. He won the league crown in passing yards in 2000 and 2003. He threw for touchdowns in 182 of 208 games, for two or more touchdowns in 123 games and for four or more touchdowns in 22 outings.
Manning teamed with 35 different players for touchdowns and tossed scoring passes in 35 of the 36 arenas in which he played during regular season action.
Manning's 63 career 300 games tie Dan Marino for the most in NFL history. His six career seasons with 30 touchdowns rank behind Brett Favre's nine for most ever. With 399 touchdown passes and 198 interceptions for his career, Manning is the only NFL player with 200 more touchdowns than interceptions at any point in a career. Manning (13) is second to Brett Favre (15) for most 20 touchdown seasons. He directed 45 fourth-quarter and overtime game-winning drives, a club record and among the most in league history.