ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Peyton Manning surveyed the landscape of his brilliant career and called one last audible. He's retiring a champion.
A month after Denver's triumph in Super Bowl 50, the quarterback told John Elway he is following his lead and riding off into that orange sunset just like the Broncos' general manager did 17 years ago after winning his second Super Bowl at quarterback.
Just shy of 40, Manning will forgo $19 million and a 19th season in the NFL, where he served as both a throwback and a transformer during a glittering career bookmarked by an unprecedented five MVP awards and dozens of passing records.
"Peyton was a player that guys wanted to play with," Elway said. "That made us better as a team, and I'm thrilled that we were able to win a championship in his final year."
The Broncos scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. today.
Manning is the only quarterback to win Super Bowls with two franchises. His first came in 2007 with the Colts, who drafted him No. 1 overall in 1998. The Colts gave up on him after a series of neck surgeries forced Manning to miss the 2011 season and left him without feeling in the fingertips of his right hand.
A rare superstar quarterback on the open market in 2012, Manning resettled in Denver, where, despite a right arm weakened by nerve damage, he went 50-15 with his fifth MVP award and two trips to the Super Bowl in four seasons.
There will be no more showdowns matching skills with Tom Brady or wits with Bill Belichick — against whom he was just 6-11 but 3-2 in AFC championships.
"Congratulations Peyton, on an incredible career," Brady posted on Twitter. "You changed the game forever and made everyone around you better. It's been an honor."
Manning is first all-time in passing yards (71,940) and passing touchdowns (539).
The 18th season for No. 18 was his most trying. He had to adjust to new coach Gary Kubiak's run-based offense, to unrelenting health issues and to questions about his character on his way to winning his second Super Bowl.
Manning, whose dry wit and star power has made him a staple of commercials for nearly two decades, saw his squeaky-clean image take a beating lately, too.
The NFL is investigating allegations that human growth hormone was shipped to his home in his wife's name after an Al Jazeera report that Manning called "garbage." And in a new lawsuit filed last month. Manning was cited as an example of a hostile environment for women at the University of Tennessee for his alleged harassment of a female trainer in 1996.
A torn ligament in his left foot hampered Manning all the way back to August. It led to his worst season and sidelined him for six weeks before that fairy tale finish in Santa Clara, Calif., when his defense carried him across the finish line with a 24-10 Super Bowl victory over Carolina.
"He had to do several things different this year," said his dad, Archie, a former star quarterback. "Had to take off during the season, which he'd never done before. He ran the scout team, which I don't think he'd ever done, and he dressed out as a backup, which he'd never done."
Ram arrested: Rams running back Tre Mason was subdued with a stun gun twice when he refused to cooperate with officers who were arresting him in Hollywood, Fla., for reckless driving and marijuana possession, police said. Mason refused orders to get out of his Porsche sports car Saturday after he was pulled over for speeding, according to a Hollywood Police Department report. Mason refused to give the patrol officer his name or provide identification, and the officer smelled marijuana in the car.
Workout flash: Wendall Williams, a wide receiver/kick returner from NAIA University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky., ran a hand-clocked 4.19 seconds in the 40-yard dash Saturday at Winter Park, Minn., and tied the vertical jump mark of 45 inches. "I didn't see the numbers, but I couldn't believe them at first," Williams said Sunday. "I thought I ran something good, but not that good. But then I saw the reaction from the other guys and realized it was pretty good." Current Cardinals running back Chris Johnson holds the official fastest 40 time at a combine at 4.24 seconds in 2008.