I am a Peyton Manning fan.
In 1997, I was sitting in a classroom at my high school. I glance out the glass window to the hallway and there he was. Peyton Manning, then a quarterback with the University of Tennessee, with then-Coach Phil Fulmer. Several of us gasped. We all knew he was there to recruit one of our school’s top athlete’s but still… it was Peyton Manning!
Dressed up in a nice suit and tie, he smiled and waved into the classroom. I remember seeing this guy just a few years older than me, carrying himself with such professionalism. Just classy. Plus he was a great athlete.
I was an instant fan!
And it hasn’t gone away.
It never will go away.
So my heart breaks as Peyton emotionally said good bye to the team that he’s spent his whole professional career with. Again. Just classy. He thanked the organization and fan base from the bottom of his heart and felt blessed to have been able to play for them.
It’s nice that the Colts will retire #18. It’s nice that it wasn’t about the money or the contract. That it was circumstances that caused this break-up. I wish they could have worked something out. He said he would always be a Colt though. That’s nice…
I do hope Andrew Luck works out for the Colts. That rebuilding won’t be rough.
Peyton said at the Wednesday press conference that he will not retire. That he still wants to play and that no one enjoys their job as a quarterback more than him. Great! Hope he keeps improving that arm and his neck keeps healing. He’s been happy getting back out and throwing again. Making himself ready for what’s next.
What’s next? Yes, many wonder where the free agent will land. I hope it is a good team just one key piece away from success. I hope he isn’t put in a bad situation. Thing is, I think Peyton has a little bit of control. He’ll go where it’s a good fit for him.
I’ll still have a soft spot in my heart for the Colts. But I will follow Peyton and forever be a fan. Just let him land with a good team!
Side note … The guy Manning was at my school to recruit was Reggie Coleman. Reggie, an offensive tackle, did sign on with the Vols and was on the 1999 National Championship team. He did get drafted into the NFL but had some injuries and attitude problems and was not very successful. At all. Circumstances are a funny thing.
Miranda Remaklus is senior reporter for Aerys Offsides. She is also a contributor to Aaron Miles’ Fastball in the MLB section. Follow her on Twitter, @missmiranda.