Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning announced his retirement on Monday after 18 years of playing American football.
The athlete made the huge announcement in Englewood, Colorado and it immediately created noise not only around the National Football League (NFL) world, but around the globe as well. Here, watch Peyton Manning?s announcement of retiring.
Manning opened his address with stories about his first season as a professional athlete. ?In my very first NFL game, I completed my first pass to Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk. I threw a touchdown in that game to Marvin Harrison, who would be inducted into the Hall of Fame this August,? said the Broncos quarterback.
He also shared the first time he was able to shake Johnny Unitas? hand, who also told him to stay at it. ?Well, I have stayed at it. I?ve stayed at it for 18 years and I hope that old No. 19 is up there with his flat top and maybe his black high tops on and I hope he knows that I have stayed at it, and maybe he?s even a little proud of me,? said Manning addressing Unitas? words.
The athlete also thanked New Orleans, his hometown, and the University of Tennessee, his alma mater. Aside from those, Manning also expressed his gratitude towards the Indianapolis Colts, who drafted him back in 1998, the Denver Broncos, and his family, as reported by NPR.org.
?Grateful is the word that comes to my mind when thinking of the Denver Broncos. I want to thank Pat Bowlen and his family, Joe Ellis, John Elway, John Fox, Gary Kubiak, and their staffs and all the support people in this great organization,? Manning said. ?To all of my Denver teammates, thank you for what you?ve done for this old quarterback. And of course my gratitude to the Broncos fans everywhere,? he added.
Manning also specifically addressed the fans, stating how much they mean to him. ?And this is important, football fans everywhere need to know how much they mean to me over the years. Fans, you?re at the core of what makes this game remarkable. I?ve received more letters from you than I can count. Fan letter that have touched me, made me think, laugh and moved me to act,? he said.
After giving thanks to the people who have been at his side all throughout his career, Manning then shared that he has nothing to be regretful as he retires. ?I?ll know without doubt that I gave everything I had to help my teams walk away with a win. There were other players who were more talented but there was no one could out-prepare me and because of that I have no regrets,? said the quarterback.
To conclude his speech, he lifted a scripture from 2 Timothy 4:7 that says, ?I have fought the good fight and I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.? He then followed it with, ?Well, I?ve fought a good fight. I?ve finished my football race and after 18 years, it?s time. God bless all of you and God bless football.?
Manning won two Super Bowls while playing for two different teams. He was honored as the MVP of the NFL for five times in his entire career. He will also retire as the league?s all-time passing touchdown leader with 539 and passing yards of 71,940.
Transcript of Peyton Manning?s Speech from: ESPN