Peyton Manning's release: Twenty memorable quotes from his career

Phillip B. Wilson

Here is what Peyton Manning said at different junctures of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, starting with his prediction before joining the team.

“I would like to play for you but if you don’t pick me, I will kick your ass for the next 15 years.” – Manning’s promise to Jim Irsay in the Colts owner’s office before the QB was taken with the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NFL draft. Manning told’s Rick Reilly of the comment in a 2011 interview.

“I don’t care what league you’re in. When you lose, you hate it.” – After his NFL debut, when he completed 21-of-37 passes for 302 yards with 1 TD and 3 INTs in a 24-15 loss to Miami Sept. 6, 1998, at the RCA Dome.

“Everything we got, we had to earn.” – His first NFL victory, a 17-12 home win against San Diego and QB Ryan Leaf, the No. 2 pick in the draft. Manning completed 12-of-23 passes for 137 yards with 1 TD, 1 INT on Oct. 4, 1998.

“It’s been a fast turnaround. It’s definitely come faster than we expected. We knew we’d be a better football team this year, but we didn’t know that we’d be this good.” – After Colts clinched the AFC East title and first-round playoff bye Dec. 19, 1999, with a 24-21 home win over Washington. The second-year QB passed for 298 yards and two TDs.

“It was that kind of day.” – Colts lose 19-16 to Tennessee in an AFC divisional playoff game Jan. 16, 2000, at the RCA Dome. Manning failed to throw a TD pass for third consecutive game after passing for one in 27 straight games.

“That's the strangest game I’ve ever been involved in. By far.” – Manning rallied the Colts to a 30-23 home win over New England on Oct. 22, 2000, at the RCA Dome. Despite just 41 snaps, second-fewest in franchise history, Manning celebrated his first triumph against Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the first of four perfect 158.3 passer-rating games in his career. Manning completed 16-of-20 passes for 268 yards with three TDs.

“The guy knocked the (bleep) out of me. I didn’t see it coming.” – Manning suffered a hairline fracture of his jaw on a hit from the helmet of Miami’s Lorenzo Bromell in a 27-24 home loss Nov. 11, 2001, at the RCA Dome.

“It will be a long offseason.” – A 41-0 AFC wild-card playoff loss to the New York Jets Jan. 4, 2003, was arguably Manning’s worst game as a pro. He completed 14-of-31 passes for 137 yards with two INTs at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. His passer rating of 31.2 was the lowest of his career and it’s the only time the team was shut out in his career.

“Here we are, I’m out a my third Pro Bowl, I’m about to go in and throw a touchdown to Jerry Rice, we’re honoring the Hall of Fame, and we’re talking about our idiot kicker who got liquored up and ran his mouth off. … What has the sports world come to? We are talking about idiot kickers. He has ruined kickers for life. Sad thing is, he’s a good kicker. He’s a good kicker. But he’s an idiot.” – During Hawaii’s Pro Bowl Feb. 2, 2003, Manning lashed out in a sideline interview with ABC-TV’s Lynn Swann at Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt, who earlier in the week had criticized the QB and head coach Tony Dungy for a perceived lack of emotion.

“Well, I overthrew Dallas Clark on that one.” – His answer when asked if he knew his six TD passes at New Orleans on Sept. 28, 2003, was one shy of an NFL single-game record. Manning missed an open Clark on an incomplete pass in the third quarter.

“We’ve been hot offensively, myself included. We’ve sort of raised it up another notch.” – A Manning understatement after he matched his career-high six TD passes in a 41-9 Thanksgiving Day rout of Detroit Nov. 25, 2004, at Ford Field. Manning went on to set an NFL record with 49 TD passes that season.

“Extremely disappointing, frustrating. All of the above.” – A four-INT game in a 24-14 loss at New England in the AFC title game on Jan. 18, 2004, demoralized the Colts and their star quarterback.

“I’m trying to be a good teammate here. Let’s just say we had some protection problems. I’ll give Pittsburgh credit for their blitzes and their rush, but we did have some protection problems.” – Manning was criticized for this comment after being sacked five times in the top-seeded Colts’ 21-18 upset loss to Pittsburgh in an AFC divisional playoff game Jan. 15, 2005, at the RCA Dome.

“I don’t get into the monkey (off my back) and vindication; I don’t play that card. It’s always nice when you can take the hard work and put it to good use and get the win.” – Manning couldn’t help but smile after leading the Colts to 32 second-half points and a 38-34 comeback victory over rival New England in the AFC title game Jan. 22, 2007, at the RCA Dome.

“I wanted to be on a team that won the Super Bowl. To me, that’s what it’s always been about. In years past when our team has come up short, it’s been disappointing. But somehow, some way we have found a way to learn from some of those losses. We’re a better team because of it.” – After Manning was named Super Bowl XLI MVP when the Colts defeated Chicago 29-17 Feb. 4, 2007, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

“OK, I’m sorry – do you want to lose? I throw, you catch. It’s not that hard, OK? Get the (bleep) out of here.” – One of several funny lines from Manning’s March 24, 2007, hosting of “Saturday Night Live.” He feigns disgust with a kid while playing pick-up football in a spoof of an NFL/United Way advertisement. The announcer’s punchline, “Spend time with your kids, so Peyton Manning won’t.”

“I’m really not comfortable with being drawn into comparisons with other athletes. I certainly would think all of those athletes would echo my sentiments of being thankful and grateful for the supporting cast they’ve had around them. I think they would realize, as I certainly do, that this wouldn’t be possible without the help of so many people.” – Manning became the NFL’s only four-time MVP Jan. 9, 2010, and just the ninth player in the four major sports to win four MVP honors. He also won the award in 2003, 2004 and 2008.

“I never thought ‘Sodapop Curtis’ would announce my retirement. I always thought I would be the one to announce it. I’m a huge fan of the movie, but that caught me way off guard. I can’t explain it. I know he is a friend of (owner) Jim’s (Irsay), and Jim sounded surprised.” – Manning referring to actor Rob Lowe’s character in the 1983 movie “The Outsiders,” after Lowe tweeted the QB will retire due to a neck injury. Manning refuted the tweet in an exclusive interview Jan. 23, 2012.

“I have no plans on doing that.” – Asked if he’s pondering retirement on Jan. 31, 2012, outside of Super Bowl XLVI Radio Row at the JW Marriott, Manning reiterated his intent to return from neck surgeries that sidelined him for the 2011 season.

"And as I go, I go with just a few words left to say, a few words I want to address to Colts fans everywhere. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback." -- Manning on March 7, 2012, concluding his opening statement at the press conference to announce his release.

-- The Indianapolis Star archives