Manning Parts Ways With Colts

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay announced Wednesday that his team will release Peyton Manning, making the four-time MVP perhaps the most-coveted free agent in NFL history -- if he's healthy enough to play in 2012.

Both men paused frequently, fighting tears and their voices shaking, when they appeared together at a news conference at the Colts' team complex to announce the end of Manning's 14-year tenure in Indianapolis.

"This has not been easy for Jim," Manning said, "and this has certainly not been easy for me."

"It truly is an honor to have played in Indianapolis," Manning said, choking back tears.

Irsay said Manning's No. 18 "will never be worn again" by a member of the Colts.

"It'll always be Colt," Manning said. "That'll never change."

Manning will officially become a free agent once the Colts submit his release to the NFL, the league processes it and places his name on the waiver wire. That could happen as soon as Wednesday afternoon, as the league typically distributes that list at about 4 ET each weekday. Free agency begins Tuesday, but Manning can sign with another NFL team immediately after the Colts formally release him.

The Colts had a deadline of Thursday to pay Manning a $28 million bonus and exercise the four remaining years on the five-year, $90 million contract he signed before last season.

Both men said money wasn't a factor in Manning's exit from the team.

- ESPN: Sources: Colts, Manning to part

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