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Report: Peyton Manning will retire

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Peyton Manning, the greatest player in Colts franchise history, has reportedly decided to retire.

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One of the greatest players in NFL history has reportedly decided to call it a career, as The Denver Post's Woody Paige reports that Peyton Manning will retire and will announce it by the end of the week.  Paige says that Manning is done with the Broncos (something that has been obvious for months) and said that it is "implausible" that Manning will play elsewhere.

Manning spent 18 seasons in the NFL, starting 265 games and completing 65.3% of his passes for 71,940 yards (7.7 yards per attempt), 539 touchdowns, and 251 interceptions for a passer rating of 96.5.  He retires as the league's all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns and as the fifth-highest rated passer, among a host of other accomplishments.  He is the NFL's only five-time MVP (no one else has more than three), made 14 Pro Bowls, was a seven-time first-team All-Pro, a two-time Offensive Player of the Year, and the Comeback Player of the Year in 2012.  He won two Super Bowls and played in four, being the only starting quarterback to win the game with two different franchises.

Manning holds a special place in the hearts of Colts fans, as he is the greatest player in Indianapolis Colts franchise history.  Spending 14 seasons in Indianapolis after being drafted by the Colts first overall in 1998, Manning is the franchise's all-time leader in nearly every significant passing category, including yards, touchdowns, completions, attempts, and more.  He helped revive a franchise that was routinely among the league's worst to one that was routinely among the league's best, and during his time he was the model of consistency.  He had 14 seasons with at least 4,000 yards passing and 16 seasons with at least 26 touchdown passes.

After missing the entire 2011 season due to a serious neck injury, the Colts released Manning as they had the opportunity to draft Andrew Luck.  Number 18 then finished his career with the Denver Broncos, playing four seasons and maintaining the same high level of play.  During his final year, he struggled mightily and dealt with injuries, but the team gave him the storybook sendoff by winning Super Bowl 50 thanks to a dominant defensive run.  Manning seems to have rightly decided to ride off into the sunset and call it a career.

It remains to be seen yet whether he will officially retire as a Colt or not, but either way it's clear that he'll be inducted into the Colts' Ring of Honor soon enough.  Then, in five years, he'll be inducted in Canton in the Hall of Fame as well.  It will be very weird to enter an NFL season without Peyton Manning in the league, and he'll go down as the best to don the horseshoe in Indy.  Congrats on a brilliant career, Peyton, and thanks for all the memories.

UPDATE: Other reports suggest that the Broncos have not yet been informed of Manning's decision.  This doesn't necessarily contradict Paige's report and Manning still may retire, but it seems the Broncos haven't been informed yet one way or the other - so, in other words, stay tuned.