ESPN, citing its close sources is indicating that the Indianapolis Colts have chosen to close the book on the Peyton Manning era and will release him. Manning, 36, missed all of the 2011 season after having multiple neck surgeries was set to earn a 28 million dollar roster bonus on the 8th of March. Clearly while Manning had been cleared medically to rehab and throw he did not show enough progress to the Colts to warrant moving forward with the team, given the Colts possess the number one pick in the upcoming NFL draft in April. All signs point to the Colts selecting Andrew Luck from Stanford.
Manning, drafted by the Colts in 1997, has won four MVP awards and one Super Bowl while with the team. Assuming he feels he can still play at his high level, several teams have been rumored to have interest in his services, including the Jets, Redskins, Dolphins, Seahawks, and others. Clearly, given his health issues and age Manning will look for the best place that offers a chance to win now and that can also protect him well. After his release, his is free to sign with any team.
The move is expected to be announced tomorrow at a joint press conference with the Colts ownership and Manning present.