|Manning and Irsay closed out an era in Indy the right way. (Getty Images)|
"I sure have loved playing football for the Indianapolis Colts," Peyton Manning said to open up his final press conference with the Indianapolis Colts.
It was classic Peyton, said in his typical Southern, aw-shucks and sincere-sounding accent.
If you want to pick one word to describe the joint press conference between Jim Irsay and Manning, announcing Peyton's departure from Indianapolis, "emotional" would work. But so would "class" -- Manning and Irsay did things the right way and closed a wonderful career in an amicable fashion. (LeBron James, please take notes.)
Today's snark-filled reactionary world makes it tough to pull off a genuine public event that doesn't come off as forced. And considering the NFL world's been narrowly focused on Manning for several months now, a press conference with both divorcees present had all the makings for a trainwreck.
Instead, Irsay and Manning both deserve an A-plus for the way they handled the adversity. Irsay spoke off the cuff, and Manning had some prepared words. But they both were quick and to the point, while remaining sincere. It was a welcome change in a world where Jim Gray and Vitamin Water have made press conference cringe-worthy.
Peyton doesn't want to play anywhere else. We all know that. But he wants to play. He's even "confident" he'll play next year. And he could have talked about where, but he didn't.
"I haven't thought a lot about where I'll play," Manning said. "But I have thought a lot about where I've been."
Irsay doesn't want Peyton playing anywhere else either. He knows Peyton will though and was honest enough to wish him luck. He already made the (easy) decision to retire Manning's number too.
"The 18 jersey will never be worn again by a Colt on the field," Irsay said.
Manning, fittingly, got the last word before a few brief questions from the press.
"Thank you very much, from the bottom of my heart," Peyton Manning, fighting back tears, addressed Colts fans to close out his presser.
"I truly enjoyed being your quarterback."
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.