Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay announced Friday during a press conference celebrating Peyton Manning's career with the franchise that the team is going to build a statue outside Lucas Oil Stadium to honor his time in Indy.
The Colts passed along an early rendering of the design:
Indianapolis also confirmed the No. 18 jersey is going to be retired:
No future Colt will ever wear the number 18. Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts jersey is officially retired. pic.twitter.com/z893Fsb4eg— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) March 18, 2016
Irsay discussed the much different vibe during Friday's press conference compared to the one a handful of years ago when the Colts decided to move forward from Manning in favor of Andrew Luck.
"It seems like a short four years ago we were up here on a difficult day," he said, per Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star.
The Colts owner was happy both sides emerged from that difficult breakup in a positive place, as noted by Mike Chappell of IndySportsCentral.com: "Happy to report both enjoyed [a] lot of success since 2012 presser. Not always easy to see Peyton without [a] horseshoe on [his] helmet."
Irsay also touched on the side of Manning not everybody gets to see away from the field, per Keefer: "I just can't say enough about how much he means to this city and this state. You just run out of words."
He even made reference to the quarterback's infamous postgame speech after winning Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos in February when it came to the statue, according to Sporting News NFL:
Irsay jokes fans can leave cans of Budweiser there.— Sporting News NFL (@sn_nfl) March 18, 2016
Manning took the opportunity to recount some of his favorite memories during his seasons with the Colts, including his first preseason touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison and some of his rookie mistakes. The NFL highlighted part of those remarks:
He talked about the high likelihood that his numerous records will be broken in the future. Sporting News NFL pointed out there's one he thinks could stand the test of time, though:
Peyton Manning: "I don't think the record I have with Marvin (Harrison) for touchdown passes will ever be broken."— Sporting News NFL (@sn_nfl) March 18, 2016
Just like his retirement press conference with the Broncos, there were a couple of moments when you could tell the emotion was getting to him. Keefer explained those select parts of his speech:
Peyton Manning's voice has began to crack only twice today -- when he talked about Colts fans and his former teammates.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) March 18, 2016
Like Irsay, he talked about coming full circle after leaving for the Broncos, as relayed by Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post: "It was a tough, emotional day four years ago. But I'm glad to be back."
Sometimes, those type of separations can lead to bitterness. But Manning also embraced the Colts fans during his return trips to Indianapolis. They loved him for good reason, as illustrated by the NFL Network:
"It was my honor and privilege to play for this organization for 14 years. I'll always be a Colt," Manning said, per Keefer.
Manning reiterated his comments about his future from the Broncos press conference, saying he's just trying to enjoy the early days of his retirement after decades of endless football before turning his attention to the next step of his life.
It's been a whirlwind stretch between winning the Super Bowl, deciding to retire and then getting honored in both Denver and Indianapolis. But there will be no shortage of opportunities for him once he's ready to move forward, whether it's working with an NFL organization or going into TV.
His football career may be over, but there will be a statue at Lucas Oil Stadium to ensure his legacy will live on forever in Indianapolis.