Danieal Manning has announced that he is retiring from the NFL after nine years. After spending five years with the Chicago Bears, he spent four seasons with our beloved Houston Texans.
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Manning made his announcement and intentions to retire on Sports Radio 610 in Houston
His career was a decent one, and one to be appreciated. Let’s look at it all, even the non-Texan years.
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Starting off in Chicago where he was drafted, Manning was looking for his niche, and his specialization. Sure, he was a great defensive back, but what would he be known for? Could he make himself a versatile player in this league?
He found it fairly early on. In his third year, he was tried out as a kick returner, and quickly became very good at that, and made it known that he was an asset to the special teams group. It wasn’t just that, though. After returning a kick for a touchdown, and an interception all the way to the five yard line, I would go so far as to say Manning was a master of huge, explosive plays that either score, or set up positioning for a score, which is important.
Fans of the Bears quickly looked to Manning when they needed a huge play to set up the offense. He did so in multiple ways, off of interceptions (he had 11 throughout his career, 7 as a Bear), and kick returns. He was the man that often gave the offense the necessary field position to get the work done.
Manning had his competition, and often had to work for his role any time that he got a start. He often ousted his opponents, due to his hard work ethic.
On to Houston
In 2011, Manning joined the Texans on a decent sized contract, where he signed for $20 million. Although he found his stride as a Bear, his first defensive touchdown came as a Texan on a 55 interception return, going back to his days as an explosive magician.
Since 2011, he’s only played games as a Texan, although briefly he was picked up by the Cincinatti Bengals after the Texans released him to clear up cap space.
The Bengals released him shortly after signing, and the Texans jumped on the opportunity to get him back, making him a Texan once again. They would not regret this.
Manning has put up fantastic statistics his entire career, highlighted by 59 solo tackles as a Texan in 2012. He’s also had 11 interceptions over the course of his career. He completed his final season by playing in all 16 games last season, with 46 total tackles.
Things really shifted for a few years as a Texan. While in Chicago, he was the man known for returning kicks and punts, for a couple years, he did not have that role as a Texan, despite his experience. Although in his first year he got a look at 33 returns, he only got two combined between the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Keshawn Martin got most of the returns throughout this time, returning 61 kicks between those two seasons.
This was okay, though, as it gave Manning a chance to become an even better defensive player, and what better place to do it than with one of the league’s most longtime intimidating defenses? His 2012 season with 59 solo tackles showed just how much he was able to focus on defensive assignments.
In 2014, his last year, Manning was able to get a shot at more returns, with 13 throughout the season.
Overall, Manning has played a decent career and put up a great round of statistics. Looking back, it’s absolutely a career to be proud of. In my opinion, Manning is retiring as a Texan, and will be remembered as just that, a Texan, despite some great days as a returner in Chicago.