Peyton Manning To Retire A Champion

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during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.

Peyton Manning has informed the Denver Broncos that he will retire from the National Football League, according to the team’s official website Sunday. The team’s verified Twitter account said that the Broncos congratulate Manning for his “magnificent 18-year NFL career.”

Manning, along with Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis, General Manager John Elway and head coach Gary Kubiak, will hold a news conference Monday at 1 p.m. ET.

Though Elway — a man who, incidentally, retired from the Broncos after winning a Super Bowl himself (actually, two) — had said there was no deadline for Manning to make his decision, it’s a safe bet the team wanted its answer, if it didn’t already have one, by March 9.

That’s when the league’s calendar year — and thus, its free agency period — begins, and if Manning had remained on the roster, the $19 million salary for his final contract year would have been guaranteed. That could have complicated negotiations with a host of free agents, including backup quarterback Brock Osweiler, who went 5-2 in Manning’s absence last season.

If you’re worried how the 39-year-old gunslinger will make ends meet, fear not (chuckle, chuckle), he’s been moonlighting for years. According to Fortune magazine, Manning made $12.5 million from endorsements in 2014, which probably isn’t surprising for a man who has served as a face for brands as big as Papa John’s, Gatorade, Buick, Nationwide Insurance and DirecTV.

As a person and player, Manning’s reputation has generally been considered beyond reproach, though two controversies surfaced or resurfaced this year: allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs and that, as a student at the University of Tennessee, he sat on the face of a female trainer who was treating him.

He has vehemently denied the former, while downplaying the latter, saying he merely “mooned” a teammate in the trainer’s presence — “not exactly a criminal offense, but out of line.”