With the release of Peyton Manning from the Indianapolis Colts yesterday it brought back memories of February 27, 2003. That was the day Jerry Jones released Emmitt Smith from the Cowboys after 13 seasons. Both Emmitt Smith and Peyton Manning did so much for their teams, their cities and the fans. Although it was a business decision for both players, as a fan it hurts to see a player that meant so much to their teams be released. Cowboy’s fans can relate to what Colts fans are going through right now. They are hurt, they are angry, they feel an overwhelming sense of pride that their QB gave everything to their team for many years. They remember the growing pains that led to the rewards. It was the same with Emmitt Smith when he was released. Chances are it’s going to hurt even more when Manning puts on the jersey of the team that signs him. But at the same time fans of Manning are going to wish him well and cheer for him as his career continues on. Some fans may even go as far as cheering against the Colts if Manning should ever play against them.
Cowboy’s fans were lucky enough to watch Emmitt Smith break Walter Payton’s career rushing record in his final season with the Cowboys in 2002 before being released. When Smith put on the Arizona Cardinals uniform it was a site that was very strange to say the least, but I knew the cheering would continue as he moved on with his career and Cowboys fans remembered all the great times. Emmitt Smith played two seasons for the Cardinals. In 2003 he suffered through many injuries and only rushed for 256 yards. But his final season for the Cardinals he rushed for 937 yards and 9 touchdowns before retiring from the NFL.
Emmitt Smith retired from the NFL as a Dallas Cowboy and walked into the Hall of Fame as a Dallas Cowboy. I’m sure that the same thing will happen when Peyton Manning decides to retire. Manning will go out as a member of the Colts because he will always be a Colt just like Emmitt Smith will always be a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
So to all the Peyton Manning fans out there who are hurting right now; Remember Manning for everything he did while he was part of the Colts. You all had the privilege of watching a player grow and lead and become one of the best quarterbacks of all time who led the Colts to a World Championship. And five years after he retires from the NFL as an Indianapolis Colt he will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame as an Indianapolis Colt.