Thursday, March 08, 2012

Manning cuts Colts

I know it's a day late, but hey, I was at work last night.

INDIANAPOLIS -- In an emotional press conference with team owner Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning officially cut ties with the Indianapolis Colts Wednesday, ending a 14-year association with the organization.

Manning cited the team's 2-14 record this past season, which Manning sat out while recovering from multiple neck surgeries, as well as the team's ineviable salary cap position as reasons behind his decision to cut the franchise.

"I have had a long, rewarding, historic run with the Indianapolis Colts," Manning said, choking back tears. "But, let's face it, they were the worst team in the league last season. Worse than Buffalo, worse than Minnesota, worse than Cleveland, if you can believe that."

Manning said he plans to work out several free agent teams in the coming weeks before deciding which to sign. He didn't name any teams to avoid violating the league's tampering rule, but his agent, Tom Condon, has mentioned the Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs as possible front-runners for the position.

"These are teams that have been under-performing for a long time and should be available off the waiver wire," Condon said.

Manning wished the Colts well but conceded that, unlike many observers, he doesn't see owning the first pick in the upcoming NFL draft and presumptive top pick Andrew Luck as a panacea.

"When was the last time a highly touted college quaterback amounted to anything in the NFL?" Manning asked. "(Ryan) Leaf? (Matt) Leinart? (JaMarcus) Russell? (David) Carr? Suck, suck, suck, suck. Since me, the only highly touted college quarterback who did anything in the NFL is Eli (Manning). And, well, he is my little brother.

"So what's the name of the latest can't-miss prospect all you so-called experts have such a hard-on for?" Manning continued. "Luck? How appropriate."

Manning said he was sure an organization like the Colts would be successful again "someday." But for now, he said, the team should "gather up its dignity, along with all its shit, load it onto trucks and sneak out of town under the cover of night with its tail between its legs, just like it did in Baltimore.

"This is my house," Manning added.

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