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Peyton Manning Fights Back Tears in Announcing His Retirement From the NFL

Saying the time was right, an emotional Peyton Manning thanked former teammates, coaches, family, friends and opponents Monday as he ended his historic NFL career, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com reports.

After taking a few moments to compose himself, Manning opened his remarks to a packed meeting room with a recollection of his first pass, first touchdown and first game as a pro. And he recalled meeting Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas during that rookie season.

“I had a chance to shake Johnny Unitas’ hand and he said ‘Peyton you stay at it,'” Manning said. “Well, I have stayed at it, I stayed at it for 18 years. And I hope old No. 19 is up there, with his flattop and maybe his black high-tops on and I hope he knows that I have stayed at it.

“There’s just something about 18 years, 18 is a good number and today I retire from pro football.”

In just under 13 minutes Manning tried to thank two NFL cities, two franchises, hundreds of teammates, opponents, family as well as the University of Tennessee. And he tried sum up his 18 NFL seasons, five MVP awards, two Super Bowl wins and a pile of records. Manning acknowledged his former teammates, coaches and family.

And he even signed off with an “Omaha.”

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