The Sheriff has left the building.
Woody Paige of the Denver Post, citing a pair of unnamed sources, reports that Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will retire.
Manning is expected to make the announcement late in the coming week.
But while Manning won’t be returning to the Broncos, Paige’s report doesn’t slam the door on Manning playing elsewhere, merely saying it’s “implausible” he would choose to play one more year with another team. Manning would need to be released by the Broncos to do that, a request the Broncos surely would grant if Manning were to make it.
Manning leaves Denver with his second Super Bowl win, which capped arguably the most bizarre season of his career. Banged up and misplaced in first-year coach Gary Kubiak’s offense, Manning limped away after a November 15 home loss to the Chiefs amid not-so-quiet whispers that he’d overstayed his NFL welcome. Then, relegated to backup status for the first time in his NFL career, Manning came off the bench to help secure a Week 17 win over the Chargers, helping the Broncos secure the No. 1 seed (a loss would have put them at No. 5) and setting the stage for close postseason wins at home over the Steelers and Patriots followed by a convincing victory over the Panthers in a game the Denver defense dominated.
The move is no surprise; Manning wasn’t going to be playing for the Broncos in 2016. The only question was whether he’d leave voluntarily or be cut.
Whenever he calls it quits, the five-year wait for Canton will begin. If the debate over Brett Favre’s candidacy took only six seconds, Manning should require half that, or less.
Heck, they should just waive the waiting period and put him in now.