Legendary QB Peyton Manning retires from the NFL

Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning has announced his retirement from the NFL.

Manning, who turns 40 later this month, made four trips to the Super Bowl and won two titles.

The five-time MVP retires as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns (539), passing yards (71,940) and quarterback wins (186, tied with Brett Favre).

In an emotional press conference to announce his retirement Manning said: “There’s something about 18 years – it’s a good number. I thought about it a lot, prayed about it a lot, and like I said, it was just the right time.”

“Today I retire – I revere football, I love the game. So you don’t need to wonder if I’ll miss it. Absolutely I will.”

“I’ll even miss the Patriots fans in Foxboro. And they should miss me, because they sure did get a lot of wins off me!”

“Football has taught me not to be led by obstructions and setbacks but instead to be led by dreams. I fought the good fight. I have finished my football race. After 18 years, it is time.”

“God bless all of you, and God bless football”

After a season dogged by injury, Manning bounced back in stunning style to lead the Broncos to a 24-10 victory against Carolina Panthers at Super Bowl 50.

Broncos’ CEO Joe Ellis and GM John Elway praised Manning’s contribution to the sport, while New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady took to Facebook to praise his rival.

“Congratulations Peyton, on an incredible career,” wrote Brady. “You changed the game forever and made everyone around you better. It’s been an honor.”

Manning first came to prominence in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, leading them to success at Super Bowl 41.

After undergoing neck fusion surgery in 2011, Manning missed the entire season and was subsequently released by the Colts, but he was quickly snapped up by the Broncos.

Manning went 50-15 in Denver, during which time the Broncos reached two Super Bowls.

His college coach, Phillip Fulmer, said Manning was one of the finest players of his generation.

“I’ve said this a lot of times to people, he didn’t get better each game. He got better every meeting, every practice, every period in practice,” he said.

“He was the most incredible player that I’ve ever seen of taking it from the film room to the practice field and then from the practice field to the game.”

“People don’t realize, it’s hard to always be the best player. For almost all his years, he had to be the best player.”

“At Indianapolis, he never had a great defense around him. In my opinion, if he had been on teams like this last Broncos team a team not even as good on defense the guy might have six or seven Super Bowls.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell described Manning as “a great representative of the NFL both on the field and in his community,” adding, “we are forever grateful for Peyton’s unmatched contributions to the game and know his success will continue in the next phase of his life.”

Manning is unlikely to be short of offers now he has called time on his career, with ESPN, FOX, NBC and CBS all saying they would love to work with him if he decides to go into broadcasting, while it’s understood he may eventually become an NFL owner.