Peyton Manning: After my dad and Dan Marino, Eli was my favorite player

Michael David Smith
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Peyton Manning’s little brother is officially announcing his retirement today, and Peyton reflected on that with some brotherly love.

Peyton Manning told the Broncos’ website that he has loved watching Eli Manning, almost as much as he loved watching Archie Manning and Dan Marino as a kid.

“I’m happy for Eli, because I know he’s at peace and he put a lot of time and thought into this decision,” Manning said. “But I am sad, because I won’t get to see him play anymore. And after my dad and Dan Marino, Eli really was my favorite player. So I have to find a new one. But for really 19 years going back to his three years at Ole Miss, 16 years in the NFL, I have enjoyed watching him play, watching him compete, watching him grow into a man. It’s been a heck of a run.”

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Peyton Manning said that since retiring, he has enjoyed attending more Giants games, including Eli’s last home start.

“I really have enjoyed watching him play in person a lot more,” Manning said. “I’ve been averaging about three games a season during the years that I was retired. I certainly got to keep up with his games more. And once again, I wasn’t talking to him every day during the week, but could ask him about the game plan and what the Dolphins are doing on defense. But to go see him play and take my kids down to the locker room and have the chance for them to see their uncle, that was a real thrill. So I’ll miss that.”

The 2020 season will be the NFL’s first without at least one of the Manning brothers since 1997.

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