SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Peyton Manning is a four-time MVP who lead the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl title in 2006 when he defeated another beloved Michiana team, the Chicago Bears. Now, Manning's reign in Indianapolis is officially over.
"I have been a Colt all my adult life, but I guess, in life and in sports, we all know that nothing lasts forever," said an emotional Manning.
Colts fans were stunned and upset by Wednesday's news, while other football fanatics are already gearing up to welcome the star QB to their team's roster.
Now the big question is, If he is healthy enough to play, where will manning go next? Colts fans in South Bend had a lot to say about Manning’s future and the future of the Colts.
Just one day before the Colts' deadline to fork over a $28 million bonus to the all-star quarterback, the news hit that the Colts were officially releasing Peyton Manning --Making Manning a free agent after 14 long and successful years with team.
"It's a difficult day of shared pain between Peyton, myself and fans," said Colts owner Jim Irsay Wednesday.
For several months, rumors have been flying that Manning's future with the Colts was over after a neck injury and multiple surgeries put the star’s future in football on hold.
Even though, both Manning and the Colts said money was not a factor,Colts fans think it was the uncertainty over Manning's heathand whether he can play next year that brought his era to an end.
“I understand the Colts position, not wanting to give him $28 million with uncertainty about his health,” says fan Tim Peterson.
Already though, everyone's attention has turned to what's next for Manning. “I definitely don't think he is retiring and after watching the press conference earlier today it sounds like he wants to play for another team,” says Colts fan Jeff Morauski.
Manning was spotted in Miami last Wednesday night and already there's talk of several teams lining up for a chance to have QB, including the Miami Dolphins.
Meantime, Colts fans are unsure of the team's future without the popular quarterback.“They did terrible without him, so it’s definitely scary for next season for sure,” says Morauski.
“Even though they have the number one pick and will most like take Andrew Luck, their going to continue to experience some going pains for a while,” agrees Peterson.
The speculation on where Manning will land, while he takes his place in history and in the hearts of Colts fans.
"He was the face of the Indianapolis Colts since he has been there and he will always be an icon," says Peterson.
For Manning that feeling is mutual, “To Colts fans everywhere thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback."
Manning says he has no intention of retiring.So if he is healthy enough to play, there is no doubt he will be the most sought after free agent in football.