WASHINGTON: Retired NFL star Peyton Manning will be celebrated by the Indianapolis Colts with a statue erected of him outside their home stadium and the retirement of his number 18 jersey.
Colts owner Jim Irsay announced the moves on Friday as Manning, who retired earlier this month after guiding the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl crown, spoke in Indianapolis, the city where he spent his first 14 NFL seasons.
“I can’t tell you how honored and humbled I am by that two pieces of news,” Manning said.
“I really don’t know what to say. It was my honor and privilege to play for this organization for 14 years. I’ll always be a Colt.”
A preliminary rendering of the Manning statue will have him standing tall with his left arm bent in front of him and his right gripping the ball. It will stand outside a stadium nicknamed “The House That Peyton Built.”
“It will be a destination spot for all of our fans,” Irsay said. “We couldn’t be more excited. It’s not too often you build statues for people, particularly in their lifetime.”
Manning’s jersey number will be the eighth in team history to be retired, but the first since the team moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984.
Manning, who turns 40 on Thursday, walked away as the NFL’s all-time leader with 71,940 passing yards and 539 touchdown passes. He became the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl when he helped the Broncos beat Carolina 24-10 in Super Bowl 50.
Manning’s first Super Bowl crown came in 2007 with the Colts, whom he led past Chicago 29-17 in Super Bowl 41.
There were also two Super Bowl losses in Manning’s career. In 2010, the Colts lost to New Orleans and in 2014 the Broncos fell to Seattle.
Manning underwent neck surgery and missed the entire 2011 season while the Colts went 2-14, earning them the top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft that would be quarterback Andrew Luck.
With Manning due a $28 million roster bonus, the Colts elected to release him in an emotional day where Manning thanked Colts fans for their support.
He quickly reached a free agent deal to join the Broncos and finished out his career with Denver.