NFL great Peyton Manning has informed the Denver Broncos that he has decided to retire from the sport.
The 39-year-old is one of the finest quarterbacks to have graced the NFL and will end his career on a high, having helped the Broncos to Super Bowl glory last month.
It was a second championship for Manning, who also triumphed during his time with the Indianapolis Colts, and he was named the League’s Most Valuable Player on five occasions.
It has been speculated that Manning may have taken his last snap ever since the Broncos upset the Carolina Panthers 24-10 at Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco.
And, having struggled with injuries at times last season, the NFL’s all-time passing yards leaders has decided the time is right to end his playing career.
Having entered the league as the first pick of the 1998 draft, Manning spent 14 seasons with the Colts, taking them to the Super Bowl on two occasions.
He had to miss the 2011 season due to injury and subsequently joined the Broncos, who he also led to a pair of title games.
He is the only player to start at quarterback in the Super Bowl more than once for two different teams and the only starting quarterback to claim a title with different franchises.
He will retire as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns (539), passing yards (71,940) and quarterback wins (186 – tied with Brett Favre).
Manning tore tissue in his left foot in his final season and was replaced at quarterback by Brock Osweiler at one point, but made a remarkable return in week 17 and revived Denver’s struggling offence against the San Diego Chargers.
He then led the Broncos to post-season wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and the Panthers, helped by Denver’s extremely strong defence.
John Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback himself who is now the Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations, said: “Peyton was everything that we thought he was and even more, not only for the football team but in the community.
“I’m very thankful Peyton chose to play for the Denver Broncos, and I congratulate him on his Hall of Fame career.”
Denver head coach Gary Kubiak added: “After competing against Peyton many, many times, I already had great respect for him.
“But being with him this season, going through what we went through and accomplishing what we accomplished, that was special.
“It was a blessing to coach Peyton Manning. Nobody worked harder at the game and nobody prepared harder.”
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady paid tribute to Manning on his Facebook page.
“Congratulations Peyton, on an incredible career. You changed the game forever and made everyone around you better. It’s been an honour.”