The American football star Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts are parting ways after 14 NFL seasons that included a Super Bowl title in 2007.
The quarterback confirmed the news at an emotional media conference.
Both 35-year-old Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay stressed it was a difficult decision, which will make the four-time NFL Most Valuable Player one of the most coveted free agents in the history of the league.
The move also frees the Colts from a $US28 million bonus payment that would have been due this week had they picked up the option for the remaining four years on Manning's contract.
Manning, who missed all of last season after four operations to fuse vertebrae in his neck, said the contract and the money were never a factor.
But Irsay indicated that after the Colts' league-worst 2-14 season the club needed to focus on rebuilding.