It is very difficult to put the release of Peyton Manning, an arguably unparalleled moment in NFL and sports history, into proper words. So for now, I'll take the route of lyric-obsessed Jim Irsay and turn to music.

Here's your official "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To No. 18" Farewell mix. Descriptions are below, and you can listen to it here.

Most of it is a lyrical recap of Wednesday's extremely emotional press conference that made me cry so much that my eyes resembled those of a rabid raccoon. The mix is split into three parts:

-- The Jim Irsay Set: This consists of quotes from him and then songs that I thought fit his perspective based on said quotes.
-- The Peyton Set: Same as the Irsay set except from Peyton's point of view.
-- The Fans Set: Songs from the viewpoint of Colts/Peyton fans everywhere.

In the descriptions, I've altered certain lyrics a bit at times so that you can really envision a tearful Jim Irsay belting out some 98 Degrees and Tom Petty into his horseshoe decorated hairbrush.

And just as a sidenote: When I first envisioned putting together a "Peyton Free Agency Mixtape," I was really hoping to be able to put some scornful! Beyonce on there, or some "Heartless" by Kanye, aimed at Irsay. But damn it, Peyton is far too classy and nice to be angry or bitter. Sigh.


1. THE HARDEST THING: 98 Degrees
"It's a difficult day here of shared pain between Peyton, myself, everyone. The 18 jersey will never be worn again by a Colt on the field."
[It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to do,
to look you in the eye, and tell you I won't sign you.]

2. TOMORROW: Annie Soundtrack
Tweet from Irsay: "It was a long emotional flight. Now the sun is trying to rise."
[The sun'll come out, tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun.]

(Sidenote: Peyton's last day as a Colt saw 70-degree temperatures and sun. And on March 8, Indy’s first day without Peyton Manning, there has been nothing but steady rainfall. Oh, Mother Nature, you're such a boss.)

So what's your plan for the future, Jimmy? How will you rebuild??
[With a little luck, we can clear it up
we can bring it in for a landing.
With a little luck, we can turn it on.
There can be no misunderstanding.]

Um, OK, let's try that last question again, Jim. Want to elaborate a bit?

4. FREE FALLIN': Tom Petty
"It's something where you know to duplicate what we've done in the last 12-plus years, that's very, very difficult to do. You know how hard it is. It's going to be a process."
[Now we're free, free fallin'.]

5. WALK ON: U2
I imagine Jim Irsay sitting in his office, serenading pictures of Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning to this song while having an intense internal debate over which line he should cryptically tweet.
[And I know it aches, and your heart it breaks,
but you can only take so much. walk on, and leave it behind. You’ve got to leave it behind.]

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"I've been a Colt for almost all of my adult life.
But I guess in life and sports, we all know that nothing lasts forever."
[We belong together, and you know that I'm right.
although we’ve come to the end of the road,
still I can't let go. It's unnatural.
You belong to me. I belong to you.]

7. COOL: Gwen Stefani
"Jim and I have always been close. We made a lot of great memories together.
He's always been good to me. And Jim, I will forever be grateful."
[and I'll be happy for you, if you can be happy for me.
... after all that we’ve been through, I know we're cool.]]

8. GETTING BETTER: The Beatles
Hey, Peyton, how's your health?--> "I'm feeling closer and closer to my old self. It sure feels comfortable. It feels kind of like home out there on the field.
[It's getting better all the time]

9. COME AND GET IT: Badfinger
"I haven't thought yet about where I'll play."
Message to the half of the league (at least), that's inquiring:
[If you want it, here it is -- come and get it,
but you better hurry 'cause it's going fast.]

10. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU: Whitney Houston
"I'll always be a Colt. That will never change ... and as I go, I go with just a few words left to say, a few words I want to address to Colts fans everywhere. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback."
[So goodbye, please don't cry. We both know, I'm not what you need ...
I hope life treats you kind, and I hope you have all you dreamed of.
and I wish you Luck! And Happiness. But above all this, I wish you love.
and III-eeee-IIIII, will always love Indy.]

Compiled to accommodate the five stages of grief.

Stage 1: Denial
[Never mind, we'll find, someone like you ...
We wish nothing but the best for you, too. 'Don't forget us,’ we beg ...
... You know how the time flies, only yesterday was the time of our lives.
We were born and raised in an Indy haze,
bound by the surprise of our glory days.]

Stage 2: Anger
12. FORGET YOU: Cee Lo Green
(Dedicated to the owner who let the legend go. Although, for those that are still wrestling with the anger, I recommend the unedited version of this song. Helps convey appropriate feelings much more accurately.)
I see Jim tweetin' round town and releasin' the QB I love,
and I'm like, "forget you."]

Stage 3: Bargaining.
13. BABY (PEYTON): Justin Bieber
[and I wanna play it cool, but we're losin' you we'll buy you anything, we'll buy you any ring...
we're goin’ down, down, down, down, and we just can't believe that #18 ain't around and we were like, 'Peyton, Peyton, Peyton, ohhhh,' like, 'Peyton, Peyton, Peyton, noooo.' like, 'Peyton, Peyton, Peyton, ohhhh.' We thought you’d always be ours.]

Stage 4: Depression
[Once upon a time, there was light in our lives,
and now there;s only Luck in the dark.
Nothing we can say, a total eclipse of the heart.]

Stage 5: Acceptance
15. YOU'LL ALWAYS BE OUR QB: Mariah Carey
"This city's been so great to me and it's still a big part of my life. I'll always be a Colt. That'll never change."
[You'll always be a part of Indy, we're part of you indefinitely.
Peyt, don't you know you won't escape us,
ooh, 18,'cause you'll always be our QB.
And we'll linger on, time can't erase a feeling this strong.
No way are we ever gonna shake you,
ooh, 18, 'cause you'll always be our QB.]

Click here to listen to the complete cut.

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