Colts to Construct Statue and Retire Jersey of Peyton Manning
On Friday afternoon, March 18th, the Indianapolis Colts held a “Thank You” press conference for former legendary team quarterback Peyton Manning, who recently announced his retirement after 18 NFL seasons.
Colts team owner Jim Irsay gave an introduction, reflecting on both how strange and difficult it was seeing Manning playing these last four seasons in a different team’s uniform:
"“It was always strange watching #18 out there without the Horseshoe on his helmet,” said Irsay. “Not always easy. I think I must say that I speak for all Colts fans when we kind of feel like he’s ours.”"
Irsay had two major announcements that 1) there will be a statue constructed outside of Lucas Oil Stadium of #18 and 2) that Peyton Manning’s jersey will be retired:
"“Actions are the most powerful things in life, much more powerful than words, so I do have two major announcements to make today,” proclaimed Irsay. “First of all, we are going to begin construction of a statute outside of Lucas Oil Stadium that will feature Peyton, which will be up there for a very long time. Will be a destination spot for all of our fans.”“…Now therefore, I, James S. Irsay, owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts, with profound appreciation, hereby declare that no future Indianapolis Colt will ever wear #18. And that Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts jersey will be hereby retired.”"
Both seems widely deserved and speak to the tremendous impact and success Peyton Manning had with the Indianapolis Colts–a team he led for 14 magical seasons before the two sides had an unexpected, emotional, and abrupt parting.
Manning reacted by saying that he was very “honored and humbled” by the news and will always be a Colt on what was an emotional day for the future Hall of Fame quarterback:
"“Thank you so much, Jim,” opened Manning. “I can’t tell you how honored and humbled I am by that two pieces of news. I really don’t know what to say. It’s just a…it was my honor and privilege to play for this organization for 14 years. This is the team I wanted to play for. I was glad that you all drafted me, and I’ll always be a Colt. So I can’t tell you how special this news is to me.”"
Overall, it was great to hear Manning reminisce with stories about some of his former coaches, teammates, and even opponents.
It really took one back to how far the Colts have come as a football organization, and #18 was definitely an enormous part of that–highlighted by a 2006 Super Bowl Championship.
Simply put, thank you Peyton Manning.