March 20, 2012 1954 GMT
Free agent quarterback Peyton Manning will play for the Denver Broncos, the team announced Tuesday.
“This is truly a special football environment, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Manning said at a news conference where the Broncos made the announcement.
“I haven’t had a whole time to breathe. This happened Monday morning,” Manning said of his decision to join the Broncos.
He said he talked to a number of NFL teams before agreeing to a contract with Denver.
“I’m proud to be a Denver Bronco,” he said.
“It felt strange being a new locker room. I haven’t been anywhere else,” said the quarterback.
Manning was released earlier this year by the Indianapolis Colts, the only team for which he’s played in his 14-year pro career. In the subsequent weeks, the Super Bowl XLI victor — who has been named the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player a record four times — has been hotly sought after by several teams.
He did not play during the 2011 season after having surgery to repair a neck injury, and he ended his career with the Colts this month in an emotional news conference.
Jim Irsay, the Colts’ owner and chief executive officer, said in a statement Tuesday morning he congratulates Manning “as he heads to a tremendous organization in the Denver Broncos. We wish him nothing but the best as he continues his Hall of Fame career.”
On Monday, indications were the Broncos were the only ones negotiating with Manning, deflating several other teams. The Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals were said to be among the others interested in signing Manning.
Several Denver Broncos players expressed excitement Monday that Manning had picked their team to join.
Running back Lance Ball wrote “Wow!” on his Twitter feed, while offensive lineman Ryan Clady tweeted, “Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“It makes you think big,” linebacker Robert Ayers told reporters. “If you look at (it) historically, the teams that won the Super Bowl are teams with a guy like Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees and Eli (Manning) and Aaron Rodgers and all those guys. So it definitely makes you confident.”
Linebacker Joe Mays, who officially signed again with the Broncos on Monday, told CNN affiliate KMGH, “We’re definitely going to go for that Super Bowl ring, and we’re going to do whatever it takes. We’ve got the man at quarterback to play for us.”
Titans owner K.S. “Bud” Adams said in a statement that he spoke with Manning on Monday morning.
“I want to thank the whole organization for their efforts in trying to sign Peyton and also to Peyton for the time he put into the process,” he said. “Peyton called me this morning to inform me of his decision and obviously I am disappointed, because I thought we would be a perfect fit.”
The Denver Post, citing an unnamed NFL source, said Manning called former Broncos quarterback John Elway, who is now the team’s executive vice president for football operations, to say he wanted to play for the Broncos.
The arrival in Denver of a superstar of Manning’s stature would raise questions about the fate of Tim Tebow, who became the Broncos starting quarterback last year amid electric fanfare and led the team into the playoffs. Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007, when he played for the University of Florida.
On Friday, Elway traveled to North Carolina to watch Manning practice.
“Watching him throw today was the next step in this important process for our team and Peyton. It was a productive visit and went well,” Elway said on Twitter. “We enjoyed visiting with Peyton today in N.C. He threw the ball great and looked very comfortable out there.”
Peyton Manning was born on March 24th, 1976 (time of birth unknown) in New Orleans, Louisiana according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peyton_Manning
March 24th, 1976
3 + 24 +1+9+7+6 = 50 = his life lesson = Super Bowl. It’s a wonderful life. This is how good life can be.
March 24th, 1976
3 + 24 +2+0+1+2 = 32 = his personal year (from March 24th, 2012 to March 23rd, 2013) = Winning. Victory. #1. Champion. Championship.
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