Also stepping away is offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus, whose letter announcing his decision, seen below in its entirety, will warm the hearts of any fan not just of the Broncos, but of football in general.
Polumbus is a local boy, having played at both Cherry Creek High School and the University of Colorado Boulder before joining the Broncos in 2008 as an undrafted free agent.
He stuck with the team for a couple of years before heading off for stints in Washington, Seattle and Atlanta. But last season, he returned to Denver to help shore up an offensive line that was in sorry shape — and he earned a Super Bowl ring for his trouble.
Unlike Manning, Polumbus was never a big star. Rather, he was the sort of NFL player who tends not to get attention unless he's flagged by officials. But as a hardworking grinder who managed to stick in the league for the better part of a decade through sheer determination and willpower, he's an inspiration for the rest of us.
So, too, is his generous goodbye letter, which he originally posted on Facebook. In it, he salutes past coaches and the like, but he reserves his most heartfelt words for his family, including his children — no surprise given his past efforts on behalf of Tyler's Kids Outreach, an organization he co-founded with his wife, Liz. For several years, TKO hosted a camp for developmentally and physically disabled youngsters, as seen in a video also shared below
Here's hoping that Tyler Polumbus's biggest hits are yet to come.
By Tyler Polumbus
In 2008 Liz and I began the journey of a lifetime. 8 years and 4 teams later we feel that it is time to call it a career in the NFL. When this journey began I was just hoping that I could make the team with extremely long odds in front of me as an undrafted rookie. I thought it would be amazing to say that I played a season or two with the Denver Broncos. I never imagined that God would keep opening door after door for me to continue in this game. I am incredibly grateful for His mercy, grace, and blessings He has given my family.
From the extreme nerves of my first start with Denver on Monday Night Football against James Harrison and Lamar Woodley of the Steelers, to the BeastQuake run in Seattle when we beat the Saints in the playoffs (it literally caused an earthquake), the 7 game winning streak that took an out of the picture Redskins team to NFC East Champs and the playoffs, the confetti snow angels that my kids made at the Super Bowl, the amazing moments of my career are abundant.
Thank you to the Denver Broncos for giving me the opportunity to win a Super Bowl with the team I grew up rooting for. The Seattle Seahawks, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Washington Redskins organizations, you will forever be part of the Polumbus family.
My coaches at The University of Colorado, specifically Gary Barnett, Dave Borberly, and Jeff Grimes, took a chance on a 6 '8 240 pound kid that needed lots of PB&J's to gain weight, patience, great coaching, and plenty of trial and error before I would ever become a recognizably decent ball player.
Much like my college coaches, Mike Shanahan took a huge leap of faith in a developmental tackle that would need some time to mature into a starter in the NFL. Mike, my family is forever grateful for the impact you have had on our lives through our time in both Denver and Washington.
All of my offensive line coaches, thank you. Chris Foerster, Chris Morgan, Tom Cable, your impacts on my career were enormous.
I will miss my time in the locker room playing cards, cracking jokes, and complaining about practice as much I will miss running out of that tunnel on Sunday's and playing this game every kid dreams of playing. My teammates and now life long friends made this whole career what it was.
Mom and Dad, you have dedicated every fall to traveling to games for the last 13 years between college and the NFL. Your support in my life and career is without a doubt the greatest example of unconditional love and support anyone could have ever shown me. Dad, thanks for being a Buff so I always would want to be like you!
Lindsay and Heather, my big sisters, you were my inspiration to become an elite athlete as I watched you guys dominate in every sport you played. Thanks for leading the way athletically and supporting me along the way. My big bro Walker, passed away last year and did not get a chance to see the culmination and pinnacle of my career at the Super Bowl here on Earth but I know you were watching every moment from Heaven. Thanks for being my biggest fan.
Liz, truly I would have never made it without you. It takes a special woman to pack up a house all by herself, pick up the kids, and 200 pound dog and drive across the country on 48 hours notice because your husband got cut and picked up by a new team. You carried myself and the kids for the last 8 years. You have been by my side every step of the way and you are the definition of the word blessing. I love you.
Lastly, thank you to all my friends, family, and fans that followed my career so closely. It amazes me how many of you know every detail of every game I have ever played in. You followed me from city to city and abruptly became fans of a new team whenever I went somewhere new.
My kids will probably never stop singing Hail to The Redskins, our ears will never stop ringing from C-link Stadium in Seattle, and we will forever call Broncos Country home.