(WBIR) Broncos quarterback and former Tennessee Vol Peyton Manning is expected to announce his retirement on Monday. You will be able to watch his announcement live on WBIR and WBIR.com.
According to KUSA, Manning informed the Denver Broncos early Sunday that he is retiring as a player following 18 NFL seasons. The team confirmed the news on its website Sunday morning.
Legacy is defined as something handed down from the past. And for a community that attached itself so closely to one player, thinking of Peyton Manning as part of football's past will be tough to get used to in East Tennessee.
Vol fans have stayed committed to Manning from the beginning, when he traded in rebel red for the big orange and arrived at the University of Tennessee.
Some fans may not remember Peyton's first time on the field. In fact, he barely does.
During an interview after his first game, Manning said all he really remembered was running out on to the field, everything else was a big blur. He recalled getting into the huddle and just trying to spit the play out right.
While on Rocky Top, number 16 set 42 NCAA, SEC and UT records.
He beat big rivals, including Alabama, and delivered SEC championships. And when fans weren’t ready to let him go, Peyton delivered again.
On March 5, 1997, Manning held a press conference to tell Vol fans and the rest of the world that he would be staying for his senior season.
"I've made up my mind and I don't expect to look back. I'm going to stay at the University of Tennessee," Manning said at the time.
Allegiance eventually traveled north to Indianapolis when the Colts selected him with the first pick in the draft.
Peyton changed the game in the NFL and the way the quarterback position was played. His persistent preparation paid off at the line of scrimmage.
He leaves the league as the all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns, and wins. He also racked up 5 MVP awards and in 2007 erased all doubts that he could win the big one by getting his first Super Bowl victory.
It wouldn't be the last time he'd prove people wrong.
Knoxville traded in the Colts blue and happily transitioned back to orange in 2012 as Manning headed to the Broncos.
In Denver, Manning continued to win at the highest level. He reached two Super Bowls and capped it all off in 2016 with his second Lombardi trophy.
"I've got a couple of priorities in order. I want to go kiss my wife, kiss my kids I want to go celebrate with my family and teammates. And I'm going to drink a lot of beer tonight,” Peyton announced to the world during a memorable interview following his Super Bowl 50 win.
PHOTOS: Peyton Manning through the years
Unfortunately, Peyton's legacy will be remembered for the losses too and how he handled them with grace.
But toward the end of his career nasty allegations made Peyton play defense.
"I know exactly what they're going to find a big fat nothing because I know the rules. I respect the rules and regulations of the NFL," Manning said in response to allegations that linked him to human growth hormone. Within days of winning Super Bowl 50, Manning’s name also appeared in a Title IX lawsuit filed against the University of Tennessee by several women claiming the university has created a student culture that enables sexual assaults by student athletes.
While those accusations play out, attention turns to his accomplishments on the field.
Manning's legacy will likely be defined by victories, defeats, and most importantly by how many people he impacted along the way.
Who is the greatest player will always be up for a national debate.
Statistics state no one was better. He finished with the holy trinity of career records with 539 touchdown passes, 71,940 passing yards and exactly 200 wins, counting the postseason.
But around here…there’s no question.
And now Vol fans wait for Monday’s announcement as Manning’s legendary playing career comes to a close.
Full coverage of Manning's retirement is on WBIR.com, including photos from Manning's career and watch his top 5 moments at Tennessee.