Sport

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning retires after 18-year NFL career

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has retired from the NFL, bringing an end to a career that will surely land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Manning, who turns 40 later this month, will be going out on top after helping the Broncos to a Super Bowl upset victory last month over the Carolina Panthers, ESPN and nfl.com reported on Sunday, citing sources close to the quarterback.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning after the NFL Super Bowl 50 game in Santa Clara.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning after the NFL Super Bowl 50 game in Santa Clara. Photo: Matt York

The decision comes as the Broncos faced a Wednesday deadline in which Manning would be guaranteed $US19 million from Denver for the 2016 National Football League season if he remained on the team's roster.

One of the most prolific passers ever in the NFL, Manning revolutionised the quarterback position during an 18-year career that included two Super Bowl titles, five most valuable player awards and a slew of passing records.

Peyton Manning, centre, in action for the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers.
Peyton Manning, centre, in action for the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers. Photo: Getty Images

Broncos General Manager John Elway said there was no doubt Manning is "one of the great quarterbacks of all time."

"When you look at everything Peyton has accomplished as a player and person, it's easy to see how fortunate we've been to have him on our team," Elway said. "Peyton was everything that we thought he was and even more - not only for the football team but in the community. There's no question that his work ethic is what made him into one of the great quarterbacks of all time.

Advertisement

All the film study Peyton did and the process that he went through with game planning and understanding what the other teams did was second-to-none. Peyton was a player that guys wanted to play with. That made us better as a team, and I'm thrilled that we were able to win a championship in his final year."

Broncos coach Gary Kubiak described coaching Manning as "a blessing."

"Nobody worked harder at the game and nobody prepared harder than Peyton," he said. "His preparation was the best I've ever seen with how he went about his business. There was nothing like his work habits. Each and every week, he did everything he could to get ready to play not only against the defence but even against the coordinator."

Manning came across as a laid back southern boy but on the gridiron he was a clinical, ruthless competitor with an off-the-charts football IQ who changed plays at the line of scrimmage to outsmart opposing defenses with his dead-on accuracy.

He played his final four seasons in Denver but his prime came during the 14 years he spent in Indianapolis where he led the Colts to two Super Bowls berths, winning the big game in the 2006 campaign.

In addition to his career yards and passing touchdowns records and his record five MVP awards, Manning's Super Bowl win gave him an NFL record 200 career wins including playoffs.

He also became the first starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams.

A foot injury hampered Manning for much of the 2015 regular season and he showed a distinct loss of throwing strength.

But after his return from a six-game absence, he avoided mistakes and helped support the fierce Broncos defense during an improbable late run to the NFL title as the oldest quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl.

Reuters, Newsday