Flash back two years.
Brett Favre was dancing around center stage of all the media coverage, toying with everybody as to whether or not he would return to the NFL. After three "retirements" he finally hung it up, but only after an injury plagued his final season in Minnesota.
Dateline: Present day.
What's the next logical step for Peyton?
Several options are on the table for the man who salvaged an abysmal franchise in Indy.
But the one option he should consider is the one everybody doesn't want to hear-- retirement.
He's not getting any younger. And at 35, one big hit and lights go out. Permanently.
Especially after his health issues with his neck surgeries, the one decision he needs to make is without a doubt the hardest one of his career.
Let's analyze the facts though.
What else does he need to accomplish?
He's won a Super bowl. He's basically given Colts fans a reason not to hate life from August through December (with the exception of last season). He's won a Super bowl MVP award. He's among legendary company in the record books.
What else is left for Peyton to accomplish?
Sure, little brother Eli has one more ring than he does, but is it worth the risk to try and settle in with a new franchise?
Manning's release this week came as a bit of an expected shock.
We all knew it was coming, but we never thought we'd see the day.
With the Colts' rights to the No. 1 draft pick in 2012, it seemed natural to keep Manning on the payroll to help train Andrew Luck-- who the Colts seem to have their sights on.
It's difficult to let something you love go. Especially something you're so good at.
No doubt. It's been tough on the man.
At his age, is someone going to try and snatch him up?
Manning has a career ahead of him. He'll be signed to one of the major sports networks and lend his voice to calling games, much like Troy Aikman has done.
Peyton's fans want to see him be successful.
Such a class act deserves to be remembered for his accomplishments--and there's a lot of them.
But one thing fans don't want to think of him as is the latest diva, channeling Brett Favre in a vain attempt to stay in the spotlight for just a few more years.
If for some reason Manning doesn't retire, the only role he should fill on a roster is mentor to a younger QB who needs guidance.
He's reached his prime, and that train has left the station.
Ten years down the road, it would be nice to think back and remember Peyton as a man who walked Troy Aikman's path, and not Brett Favre's.
Chris Siers is the sports editor for the Times-Gazette. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.