Manning: I fought a good fight

Peyton Manning has held an emotional press conference confirming his retirement from the National Football League.

The 39-year-old quarterback had already informed the Denver Broncos – the team he guided to victory at Super Bowl 50 last month – of his decision to retire on Sunday.

At a press conference held at the Broncos’ training facility on Monday, Manning, who wore the No 18 jersey throughout his NFL career, insisted it was the right time to end his playing career.

“There’s something about 18 years,” said Manning, who was the first pick in the 1998 draft. “Eighteen is a good number. Today I retire from pro football. “When someone thoroughly exhausts an experience they can’t help but revere it. I revere football. I love the game, so you don’t have to wonder if I will miss it. I will absolutely. “When I look back on my NFL career, I know without a doubt that I gave everything I had to help my teams walk away with a win. “There are other players who are more talented but there was no one who could out-prepare me. Because of that I have no regrets. To all of my Denver team-mates, thank you for what you’ve done for this old quarterback.” Manning, leaves the NFL as its all-time leader in passing touchdowns and passing yards and as the league’s only five-time winner of the Most Valuable Player award. He noted during the press conference that he still owns the NFL record for 28 interceptions as a rookie and said: “Every year I pull for a rookie to break that record.” Manning began his pro career with the Indianapolis Colts, where he spent 14 years and guided the team to two Super Bowls, winning one. “You can’t fathom how much I enjoyed my 14 years there, or the warmth my family feels for you,” he said addressing fans of the franchise. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my football race and after 18 years, it’s time.”

Manning became the oldest starting quarterback in Super Bowl history last month after guiding Denver past the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50, his final game.

“It was extremely gratifying to finish with a world championship,” Manning added. “It was a great day in San Francisco, one I’ll always cherish.”

It was his second NFL crown, having also taken the title in 2007 with the Colts, the team for which he played from 1998 to 2011.

He gave no hint about what was next but a move into TV as a NFL analyst or coaching is likely.

“I’m totally convinced the end of my football career is the beginning of me going on to do something else,” he said. “I haven’t ruled anything out. I’ve made no decisions.”

As he was leaving the podium, Manning uttered his favorite pre-snap term, ‘Omaha.’

It was a fitting end to what was an incredible play.