Luke Graham: Manning in Orange? |

Luke Graham: Manning in Orange?

Luke Graham

Luke Graham

— Nothing feels right about Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos.

Manning doesn't look good in orange. It will be hard to see him not put on the horseshoe and throw to Reggie Wayne.

Sitting outside recently with some friends from Indiana, it was tough to tell the sun existed, let alone was out.

Manning, obviously emotional, stepped to the podium and thanked Colts fans. It led to one of the most interesting couple of weeks in free agency.

But going back to that day, it was more of a wake for my friends from Indiana. Peyton was their man. They grew up with him. He was their hero.

And as one muttered at the end of the press conference.

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"My childhood officially died today."

It's a horrible feeling getting attached to sports stars. But it happens.

Kids grow up now and attach to a player, but how long will that player be there. How many young children are running around Colorado with Tim Tebow jerseys right now?

It's a different generation.

Before free agency, players spent careers with teams. Sure, sports have and always will remain a business.

But Manning's farewell press conference and welcoming press conference in Denver reminded me that loyalty and sports rarely go together.

I can remember wearing my Jim Kelly Buffalo Bills jersey, playing with my friend in his Dan Marino Jersey all with the neighborhood kids decked out in their John Elway jerseys.

Maybe it's nostalgia. Maybe it's cheesy.

But there is something overly special about a player that begins his career in one place and eventually ends it there.

We don't know the whole story of Manning's exit in Indianapolis. We know he was on the hook for $28 million this year and that the Colts saw the ability to draft a quarterback to presumably play the next decade in Indianapolis.

But it just doesn't feel right.

Manning is a professional athlete and wants to prove the Colts wrong that he can play again.

One neck surgery would scare most. Manning has had four, but he still believes at 36-years-old that he can play at a high level.

Maybe he can, but it just feels hollow.

It's not uncommon anymore, but when we see Manning in a Broncos uniform, it will feel just as wrong as seeing Brett Favre in anything but a Green Bay uniform or Joe Montana in anything but a San Francisco jersey.

But that's sports.

The days of loyalty and one-team careers are dead.

Now we just have a closer view. Seeing Manning in a Broncos jersey will remind us of this every Sunday.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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