Four years ago, Colts owner Jim Irsay and quarterback took the stage at the team's West 56th Street complex to announce that Manning would be released after an incredible 14-year run. Today, Manning came back and shared the stage with Jim Irsay once again, bringing it full-circle.
"I'm glad to be back," Manning said Irsay and the Colts honored him for his legacy and contributions to the Colts franchise. Irsay announced that the Colts are beginning construction of a statue of Manning outside of Lucas Oil Stadium and also that Manning's number 18 jersey is being officially retired.
"I can't tell you how honored and humbled I am by those two pieces of news," Manning said. "I really don't know what to say. It was my honor and privilege to play for this organization for 14 years. This is the team that I wanted to play for, and I was glad that you all drafted me. I'll always be a Colt."
Manning remarked that he has really enjoyed going down memory lane over this past week and a half, something he tried not to do during his playing career. The accomplishments that Manning as a player and the Colts as a team reached during the era was nothing short of remarkable, and Manning knows just how special it was. And, like he said, he will indeed always be a Colt. Jim Irsay echoed a similar thought.
"It seems like a short four years ago we were up here on a difficult day," Irsay said. "I'm happy to report that as we temporarily went different directions, we both enjoyed a lot of success on the field. It was always strange watching 18 out there without the horseshoe on his helmet. Not always easy. I think I speak for all Colts fans when we feel like he's ours."
The day was one filled with storytelling as Manning recalled story after story from his time with the Colts (often in detail), and it was a day of reminiscing with the team's greatest player. "I can't tell you how honored and humbled I am and how much fun I had playing here for 14 years," Manning said. Now, after four years away, Peyton Manning is back, and he'll always be a Colt.