Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning bid an emotional farewell to the National Football League on Monday after an 18-year career that established him as one of the game's greatest quarterbacks.
"[Hall of Fame quarterback] Johnny Unitas told me ' Peyton , stay at it. I'm pulling for you.' Well, I have stayed at it. For 18 years," Manning, who capped his brilliant career by helping the Broncos win a Super Bowl last month, told a news conference in Denver. "Today I retire from the game of pro football."
Manning, who turns 40 later this month, leaves the NFL as its all-time leader in passing touchdowns and passing yards and as the league's only five-time winner of the Most Valuable Player award.
The cerebral signal-caller left the stage on a high-point, becoming the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl and first to win with two different teams following the NFL crown he won with the 2006 Indianapolis Colts.