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Manning’s Indy teammates react to his retirement

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — While Peyton Manning was saying goodbye in Denver, his former Colts teammates were remembering him as a leader and a good person.

Manning’s leadership brought the Colts to two Super Bowls and turned Indiana into Colts nation. It’s something his teammates said only Peyton could’ve done.

“Everywhere around the state it bleeds blue and he had a profound impact on that,” Joe Reitz, who played two seasons with Manning, said. “Every day he brought it. He was going to be at his best every day and he was going to challenge you to do the same, and if you weren’t he was going to tell you about it.”

Manning’s other teammates say leading by example was his style.

“Knowledge and wisdom and his work ethic was something that was contagious,” Gary Brackett, who played nine seasons with Manning, said.

“That’s the mark of good leaders, when you’re able to help those around you elevate their game,” David Thornton, who played four seasons with Manning, explained.

Manning brought Indianapolis to its first and only Super Bowl win, and Lucas Oil Stadium is often referred to as The House That Peyton Built. His former teammates are now calling for a permanent reminder of his leadership: a statue outside Lucas Oil Stadium.

“I don’t think there’s one out there yet, but if anyone deserves it, I think it’s definitely Peyton Manning,” Brackett said.

Manning hasn’t said what he plans to do next, but his teammates say coaching shouldn’t be on the list because he is too good.

“I don’t think he’s a coach, man; I think people who play at that level for so long, so high, it didn’t come easy to him, but I don’t think too many are willing to put in the work that he put in and I think that would be extremely frustrating as a coach to have a pupil that won’t take your advice and won’t put in the time or work that’s required,” said Brackett.

Brackett said Manning would be best suited as an announcer, a scout or team ownership.