(CBS) The Colts officially released quarterback Peyton Manning Wednesday, team owner Jim Irsay announced.

“He will always be a part of the horseshoe,” Irsay said at a joint press conference with Manning Wednesday.

The Colts needed to cut the quarterback this week to avoid paying him a $28 million bonus.

“It truly has been an honor to play in Indianapolis,” Manning said. “I do love it here. I love the fans … I will always be a Colt.”

The Colts drafted Manning with No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. He won four MVPs and a Super Bowl in 2007 during his tenure in Indianapolis, though he sat out the entire 2011 season with a neck injury.

Manning now becomes an unrestricted free agent and a number of teams, including the Dolphins, Redskins, Texans, Chiefs and Cardinals, are said to have interest.

The Colts, meanwhile, are expected to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft.

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