Peyton Manning’s career with the Indianapolis Colts will come to a close this week, ESPN reported Tuesday.
PEYTON MANNING SAGA
According to the report, the Colts will officially cut ties with the four-time NFL MVP quarterback on Wednesday.
The Colts had until Thursday to pick up a $28 million option on Manning’s contract for next season, but it was widely believed the team would not choose to pay the 35-year-old Manning that amount after he missed the entire 2011 season following several neck surgeries.
If Manning is not retained by the Colts he would become a free agent when the NFL year begins March 13.
Manning has been working out in recent weeks at Duke University, where his former offensive coordinator at Tennessee is the head coach.
There have been varying reports on Manning’s current health, with the most significant question being how close his arm strength is to returning to normal.
Manning’s father, Archie, said last week his son “looks fine” on the field, and on Saturday a short video was released of Manning throwing to Colts tight end Dallas Clark and wide receiver Austin Collie in an “aggressive throwing session.”
The Colts are expected to use the first pick in April’s draft to select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, regardless of whether Manning is still in the fold.
Manning has spent his entire 14-year NFL career in Indianapolis after the Colts selected him with the top overall pick in 1998.
Since entering the league, Manning has led Indianapolis to 11 playoff appearances, two AFC titles and a Super Bowl victory in 2006-07.
The Colts finished 2-14 without the star signal caller under center last season. The abysmal performance prompted owner Jim Irsay to clean house by parting ways with longtime vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian.
Head coach Jim Caldwell also was sent packing along with several other members of the team’s coaching staff.