After 13 years together, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts are separating. The official announcement comes after it has been publicly known for months that the Colts are courting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
"We had some great times, amazing times, with Peyton," said Colts owner Jim Irsay. "But sometimes things end or something new comes along. You have to go where your heart leads you. And right now we are totally into Andrew Luck. He's the hottest quarterback to come along since, well … Peyton."
Manning says he felt the Colts losing interest in him over the past nine months.
"I was going through some health issues and was unable to — well, this is an intimate detail I wouldn't normally share publicly — but I was unable to … perform physically, let's say, in the way I have in the past," said Manning. "Yet instead of standing by me, they instantly moved on to fulfill those needs elsewhere. They showed their true colors. They showed they wanted me just for my body."
The quarterback said that a strong relationship should not crumble when the physical elements of it are removed.
"They've been with Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky — all right in my face," said Manning. "Some of these were guys I knew and considered my friends. It was tough. And now they want to get with this young thing from California, Andrew Luck? Enough is enough. I have to respect myself. I might not be a spring chicken anymore, but I know I can still find true love with another NFL team who wants me for me."
Irsay admitted that years ago he believed Manning and the Colts would be together forever.
"But it turns out we have needs, physical needs, that have to be met even if Peyton can't perform and service us the way he always could," said the owner. "Does that mean we're not evolved? That we never loved him just for him? Maybe it does. But it's still the truth."
Manning and the Colts still have to finalize the term of their separation, but it is suspected that wide receiver Reggie Wayne will go live with his long-time quarterback.
"My health is coming back. And when I feel good, I can do some things that will blow your mind," said Manning, wearing a low-cut jersey. "I can curl your toes and make you beg for more. I intend to make the Colts very sorry they let me go."
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