Although it was considered by many to be a foregone conclusion, longtime Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and owner Jim Irsay held a press conference today, which aired on ESPN2, to announce that they would part ways.
With the Colts holding the No. 1 overall pick and almost certainly preparing to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, there was simply no way they could keep Manning and pay him a substantial bonus. That notion became a reality on Wednesday.
Irsay began the press conference by announcing the release with tears in his eyes, and Manning took over from there, clearly in an emotional state. Despite the talk of Manning wanting to get revenge on the Colts in the coming seasons, the press conference was incredibly cordial and there didn't seem to be any hard feelings between Manning and Irsay.
Irsay continually stressed the importance of Manning with regards to the city of Indianapolis and the Colts franchise, while Manning professed his love for the city and the team as well. It was quite obvious that neither Irsay nor Manning wanted things to end this way, but the circumstances dictated it.
Prior to this past season, most probably wouldn't have believed that Manning could ever play for another team. However, his season-long injury caused the Colts to plummet and put them in quite a predicament. With Manning's future uncertain, the Colts decided to do what was best for the long-term viability of the franchise.
As much as Manning may not want to leave and Irsay may not want to see him go, this move could ultimately work out for the best for both parties. Manning will perhaps have a chance to resume his career for a contending team, and the Colts will be able to retool for the future.