Peyton Manning: Denver Broncos quarterback retires from NFL

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has announced his retirement, ending a sparkling 18-year career in the NFL.

Manning struggled to hold back tears as he confirmed the news at a media conference in Denver on Monday.

He said: "I fought a good fight. I finished my football race. After 18 years it is time."

Manning, who turns 40 on 24 March, played his last game when he helped the Broncos win the Super Bowl in February.

It was his second Super Bowl win, the first coming in 2007 during a 14-year spell with the Indianapolis Colts.

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One of the game's most prolific passers, he was voted the NFL's most valuable player a record five times.

Manning retires as the NFL's all-time leader in passing touchdowns (539), passing yards (71,940) and quarterback wins (186, tied with Brett Favre).

His teams made the play-offs in 15 of his 18 seasons.

"You don't have to wonder if I will miss it. Absolutely I will," Manning added.

"There are players who were more talented - but none could out prepare me. I have no regrets."

'Perfect way to end a career'

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning after the AFC Championship game in January 2016
Manning's Denver Broncos defeated Tom Brady's New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game to reach this year's Super Bowl

One of his biggest rivals, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, said Manning "set the standard for how to play the quarterback position".

He told Sports Illustrated:external-link "What just happened, winning the Super Bowl in his last game, is a perfect way to end a career. But what he's accomplished through all these years, what makes it so admirable, is the pressure he's had on him his whole life.

"Who has lived up to the expectations year after year after year as well as Peyton? He's done it so gracefully, so admirably."

Recently, Manning has also faced controversy. Before this year's Super Bowl, the NFL began an investigation into allegations that banned substance human growth hormone was sent to his house when he was recovering from neck surgery in 2011.

He has described the allegations, made by broadcaster Al Jazeera, as "complete garbage".

During his retirement news conference, he also denied allegations of sexual misconductexternal-link stemming from his college playing days at Tennessee.

"I did not do what has been alleged and I am not interested in re-litigating something that happened when I was 19," he said.

In defeating the Carolina Panthers on 7 February, Manning became the oldest quarterback to win the showpiece event - and the first starting quarterback to win it with two different teams.

It had been rumoured the surprise 24-10 victory would be his last game, but he said afterwards he would "take time to reflect".

'I hated playing against you'

Emmitt Smith tweet about Peyton Manning
Ex-Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith said Manning was "one of the greatest to play the game"
Justin Tuck tweet about Peyton Manning
Two-time Super Bowl winner Justin Tuck played against Manning with the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders
Tiger Woods tweet about Peyton Manning
Former world number one golfer Tiger Woods referred to Manning's number as he marked his retirement
Rob Lowe tweet about Peyton Manning
Actor Rob Lowe was among the celebrities to pay tribute to Manning

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