Manning Exit Brings Home Bitter Reality

With Peyton's exit from Indy, the reality of a sports star is brought to the light.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

You know what, it's tough being one of the best players of your sport. Sure, you get fame, adoration and more money than you could possibly ever spend but with it comes expectations and pressures that follow you in every aspect of your life.

When you are a top sports star, there is no down time from anything. You are constantly on and constantly in the eyes of the public and media. Your every move is dissected and tossed out to the masses like a bone being tossed to a dog to chew on.

But, that being said, I have to think that the hardest part about being a sports star, is simply aging.

You can take vacations and shut yourself off from people for a time but the one thing you can't do as a top athlete is stop your body from aging. You get old, everyone does, and all those physical attributes that guided you through life, well, they begin to diminish and with them, so does your value with the team your on.

Such is the sad case with Peyton Manning.

Manning, who just today held a press conference with Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay to announce that Manning was being let go by the team, is the victim of being 36 years old. You see, thanks to an injury that kept Manning off the field last season, the Colts have the opportunity to make a move that has a good chance of securing them in the toughest position in football, the quarterback. On the downside, making this move means that the Colts don't need the services of Manning anymore.

So, just like that, the man who gave the Colts 150 wins, eight division titles, two AFC Championships and the teams first SuperBowl win since moving from Baltimore in 1984, is deemed dead weight to be released into the wild frenzy of the rest of the NFL.

In truth, it's a blameless reality. The NFL, and sports as a whole, is a business and must be run like one. The smart move by the Colts is releasing Manning and drafting either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. With Manning's age and recent injury, the team needs to strike out into a different direction, and it's going to do so.

The fact that this was inevitable since the Colts secured the first pick doesn't change that it's a sad day for everyone involved. This separation, at the end, was handled with dignity and class from both sides. Both Manning and Irsay said and did all the right things in the press conference today. But you have got to feel more for Manning who's only crime is aging along with being great for the Colts for the past decade and some change.

Manning will move on to another team, and probably have a good year or three, but it isn't going to be the same, it never is. And that's the reality of a sports star in a nutshell.