Report: Colts, Manning breaking up

Posted March 06, 2012, at 6:54 p.m.
Last modified March 06, 2012, at 7:36 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Peyton Manning era in Indianapolis is expected to end Wednesday, according to a report.

Citing anonymous sources, ESPN reported Tuesday that the Colts plan to hold a news conference to announce the long-expected decision. Manning is expected to attend.

Team owner Jim Irsay and Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, did not immediately respond to messages left by The Associated Press. Team spokesman Avis Roper said he could not confirm the decision or the news conference because Irsay was out of town and unreachable.

Manning turns 36 later this month, and missed the entire 2011 season after a third neck surgery. Before that, he’d never missed a game in his 13 NFL seasons.

He is owed a $28 million roster bonus on Thursday, and with the Colts holding the top draft pick, they apparently have decided it was too risky and pricey to keep the four-time league MVP.

Manning led the Colts to the 2006 NFL title, and in 2009 he brought the Colts to the cusp of history with a 14-0 start.

It’s been bad news ever since. The Colts pulled their starters against the New York Jets and lost the final two games that season. Indy then wound up losing to New Orleans in the Super Bowl. During the offseason, Manning had the first of his neck surgeries.

Then, after making an early playoff exit in the 2010 season, Manning underwent another neck surgery to repair a damaged nerve that was causing weakness in his throwing arm.

Last July, Irsay signed Manning to a new five-year, $90 million contract extension that everyone expected would keep Manning in Indy for the rest of his career.

But when the nerve did not heal as quickly as anticipated, Manning had two vertebrae fused together in September, a surgery that forced him to miss the first game of his career. There are still questions about how strong Manning’s arm is.

But there is no doubt about the impact he’s had on Indy’s franchise over the past 14 seasons.

He is the Colts’ career leader in every major passing category, is one of only four players in league history to throw for more than 50,000 yards and is third all-time in touchdown passes (399).

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