Manning, Colts parting ways after 14 seasons

Peyton Manning spent his 14th season with the Indianapolis Colts as a spectator, the future Hall of Fame quarterback missing every game because of a lingering neck injury that required several surgeries.

He will spend his 15th NFL season on another team.

Manning and the Colts are parting ways, according to a report, bringing to an end the four-time MVP's career with the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 1998, then watched him start every game for 13 years.

ESPN, citing sources close to the team, said the announcement will be made at a press conference Wednesday.

The Colts passed on a $28 million bonus owed to Manning and opted not to pick up the remaining four years on a $90 million contract he signed last July when the NFL lockout ended.

Manning will become a free agent and wants to keep playing, according to ESPN, which said the Colts had concerns over the 35-year-old's readiness to play.

The quarterback, durable and an unsurpassed NFL field general during his first 13 seasons, has undergone three surgeries on his neck but has been cleared by doctors to resume playing, although the Colts hadn't cleared him themselves.

The team, of course, has the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL draft after going 2-14 last season without Manning.

They are widely expected to use the pick on former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, although Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor is also in the draft.

Manning was franchised by the Colts last February before the lockout started, then signed his $90 million deal after it ended. The contract was to pay him $69 million over the first three years and would have averaged $18 million per season, Colts owner Jim Irsay said at the time.

As the season wore on and it became increasingly clear that Manning wouldn't play, doubts about his future in Indianapolis crept up as well. In January, Manning and Irsay released a statement denying they were at odds after an overhaul of the Colts' front office.

The team had until a Thursday deadline to decide whether it wanted to pay the quarterback his $28 million bonus or allow him to leave as a free agent.

Manning passed for 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns in 208 consecutive starts for the Colts and guided them to a Super Bowl title after the 2006 season.