Jon Gruden once dubbed Peyton Manning as The Sheriff. Manning has now been asked to turn-in his badge to the Colts.
In an eerie yet saddening press conference, both Jim Irsay and Indy’s former gunslinger took the podium to announce the end of a 14 year relationship. The two reminisced of the good times and explained of when they first met. Their words mirrored one another in regards of how well they had gotten to know each other. A brief summary from each was spoken as they took a trip down memory lane. But, as the case with some relationships ending, they both knew this was coming.
Irsay held back some tears as he spoke highly of his now former quarterback. Manning also paused through his thoughtful and prepared speech in hopes of not displaying a full public breakdown of his first NFL break-up.
Years from now each will certainly both look back and remember the great times they shared. In the meantime, they will now go their separate ways and hit the market for their next successful marriage. The Indianapolis Colts owner has already groomed his team for a younger and more attractive model. The bachelor party for Andrew Luck will soon end as the first pick in this year’s NFL draft.
Manning will ride into a new town though with a reputation of being loyal and honorable. He shouldn’t have any trouble looking for his next first date. His biggest concern instead is to see if another team is ready to settle-down with the wounded heart, soul, and body of a man who has won the NFL’s most valuable player award four times.
With exception of a few destinations, most everyone else will want to see if Manning can lead their city to a title. The obvious question every team will ask is if he’s healthy enough. They will not have to question his drive and motivation. If Manning wasn’t truly inspired to keep playing, he would have rehearsed a line or two at the press conference stating he was retiring his six-shooter instead.
Where Manning lands will cause a great deal of intrigue not only around the league, but also within the organization he potentially signs with. His landing spot will most likely involve a team starving for a chance to win a championship. Anything less than a playoff berth while Manning is the quarterback would disappoint.
Whichever team does hand him the reins may also look to sign his trusty steed in Reggie Wayne as well. They trust each other and have reconciled for over 70+ touchdowns during the regular season and playoffs. Manning should also easily gain the trust of his new owner and teammates. If not, Manning’s next honeymoon may end before it begins.
*Article originally posted to ultimatesportstalk.com on 3/7/12.