The Indianapolis Colts will honor the greatest player in team history tomorrow, as Peyton Manning will return to the Colts' complex for a noon press conference with Colts owner Jim Irsay. While the ceremony will honor his time with the Colts, it will not feature Manning officially retiring with the Colts.
This doesn't come as any surprise, as the Denver Broncos placed him on the reserve/retired list rather than releasing him - a minor difference when a player retires, but a noteworthy one when it comes to this issue: Manning won't be signing a one-day contract to retire as a Colt. WRTV's Dave Furst reports that Manning "thought hard" about retiring as a member of the Colts and "gave serious consideration" to doing so, but he will not.
But here's the thing: it really doesn't matter. Unlike in MLB where a player goes into the Hall of Fame with a specific team, in the NFL a player simply goes in as a member of every team he played for. So, in five years when Manning is inducted in Canton, he'll simply be inducted as an Indianapolis Colt and a Denver Bronco. That's simple enough, and so it really makes no difference whether Manning retires as a Colt or not.
Many fans wanted to see Manning sign a one-day deal retire as a Colt, and I totally understand that. There's a legitimate desire for fans to see the greatest player in team history align himself with their team once again, and there's nothing wrong with that. But that's the desire behind wanting Manning to sign a one-day deal: wanting him to come back to the Colts. And that's exactly what he's doing.
Signing a one-day deal and retiring as a member of a certain team is mainly just for show and is just to show that the player wants to be aligned with the team. So with Peyton Manning coming back to Indianapolis to hold a press conference with Jim Irsay, he is in a way coming back to align himself with the team and celebrate his career with them, which is exactly the same motivation and desire behind retiring as a member of a team - only this way, Manning can simply celebrate his career with both of his teams and not upset either fanbases.
To sum it up, we really shouldn't make much of anything about Peyton Manning not officially retiring as a member of the Colts. He's coming back and will be honored by the Colts on Friday, March 18, regardless of the fact that he won't be retiring with them. It's all a matter of semantics, but what matters is that he's coming back to Indy, which is the heart of the issue in the first place.