First, let's take a stroll through memory lane:
Again, this was just an atrocity in my mind. Many of us who have watched the NFL for a long time know that free agency really has caused a loss to fans in that "our players" many not be with the team in a year or three.
Peyton getting let go as a legendary part of the Indianapolis Colts I still see as a travesty to this day. You just don't do that to a guy like Peyton who did so much for your franchise.
I don't know how anyone in his/her right mind was not just absolutely STOKED to hear that Peyton would be signing with our Denver Broncos. Our fans welcomed him with open arms, excited for the future with a living legend at the steering wheel.
I am optimistic by nature and was thinking multiple Super Bowls were in the cards...and they sure as heck should have been now that we have hindsight to assist us. The realistic tangible hope I had as a fan was so exciting.
Looking back at this journey with Peyton, I honestly feel so absolutely blessed as a fan of NFL football to cheer him on the past four wonderful years as he led our team. It seems like it has been SO MUCH longer than four years. He's a part of my team. I don't care what people say about him being a Colt. He's a friggin Bronco too, now.
Here's the rub: he's gone to war with our team. Not just for a year. Not just as a mercenary. He's no hired gun. He was embraced. He's a brother to our team from top to bottom. He's a leader that we wanted to get this championship for so badly.
Like many of you who watched us win Super Bowl 32, I shed tears when I heard Elway say, "This one's for Pat!" I shed just as many as I watched Peyton hoist the trophy up there with our team.
He's an amazing man, an honorable human, and a dignified role model of what you can accomplish if you want to pour your heart and soul into your calling in this life.
Will he or won't he retire?
Let's get really real here - that's not for you, me or anyone else to say. I'll share my opinion in a moment on it (and you should too in the comments below), but that's all it is...just an opinion.
Manning has to make the choice. He's the guy that knows 100 percent exactly where he is at. He also knows 100% how much he really has left in the tank. I know some players have a really hard time with walking away and knowing when to do so. I really think that with as much as he's been through especially in the back half of his career, he is fully prepared to take a thoughtful and meaningful look at what his next step will be.
And regardless of what I think, I will respect the heck out of his decision, and so should everyone out there in Broncos Country.
Should he or shouldn't he, though (in my opinion)?
Setting aside my heart on this matter and putting back on my "No Bull" goggles, it is pretty easy for me to come up with a clear opinion with regards to Manning. I do honestly think he should retire. Here are the reasons why:
- He's had so much injury trouble the past two years.
- The injuries he's had have had a very visible impact on his play on the field.
- He just won the Super Bowl.
If he does decide to come back for one more ride, we're going to have a nuts offseason. Will Denver want him back, or is it time to move on? How do you even handle that discussion if you are John Elway? What does that mean for free agency? What about Brock?
There's never a dull moment in Broncos Country. We may not know what is coming, but I know we can all give a big Mile High Salute to the NFL legend that is Peyton Manning for his time with us.