Quarterback Peyton Manning, the NFL’s only five-time most valuable player, has informed the Denver Broncos he has decided to retire, the team announced Sunday.
Manning, who spent the past four seasons with Denver after his first 14 with Indianapolis, is coming off the second Super Bowl victory of his career and was considering the possibility of returning for a 19th season. He turns 40 this month.
“When you look at everything Peyton has accomplished as a player and a person, it’s easy to see how fortunate we’ve been to have him on our team,” said John Elway, Broncos executive vice president of football operations. “Peyton was everything that we thought he was and even more — not only for the football team, but in the community.”
The Broncos have scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. Monday, at which Manning will formally announce his retirement.
Manning finishes his career as the NFL’s all-time leader in career touchdown passes (539) and passing yards (71,940). He also has won a record 200 games as a starter, counting playoffs, and is the only quarterback to lead two different franchises to Super Bowl victories.
“It was a blessing to coach Peyton Manning,” said Broncos Coach Gary Kubiak, whose team is coming off a commanding defensive performance in a victory over Carolina in Super Bowl 50. “Nobody worked harder at the game, and nobody prepared harder than Peyton. His preparation was the best I’ve ever seen with how he went about his business. There was nothing like his work habits. Each and every week, he did everything he could to get ready to play, not only against the defense but against the coordinator.”
Said Jim Mora, Manning’s first head coach in Indianapolis: “When his name popped up on my cell phone I had an idea of why he was calling. I had an idea he was retiring, but it wouldn’t have surprised me a lot had he not. He’s such a competitor and he loves to play. It’s the end of a really big chapter.
“The mark he leaves is class. Total class. Humility. Humbleness. Winning was so important was so important to him, and doing what it takes to win. Everybody says they know what it takes to win; he did it.”
In his four seasons with the Broncos, Manning led the team to the most wins (55) and highest winning percentage (.764) of an NFL team, and was the first quarterback in club history to be part of four consecutive AFC West titles.
A foot injury this past season sidelined him for seven of the eight final regular-season games. He was replaced by Brock Osweiler, a current free agent who is expected to be his replacement from this point forward. According to the Denver Post, the Broncos have offered Osweiler a three-year deal with an average annual salary of $13 million.
Manning came off the sideline in the regular-season finale to lead Denver to a pivotal victory over San Diego, one that secured the Broncos the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage, then started in playoff victories over Pittsburgh and New England to get to the Super Bowl.
After Denver’s 24-10 victory over the Panthers, Manning’s mother, Olivia, told The Times and ESPN.com that she thought it should be her son’s final game.
“I would like for him to retire,” she said. “I would. Physically, I just don't think it's worth going on. He won a Super Bowl — it's the best way to go out.”
Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesFarmer