After 18 years for No. 18, Peyton Manning announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday drawing reaction from many players around the league, including the Houston Texans.
Brian Cushing still recalls the first time he played against Manning and described the moment as "surreal."
"I remember specifically, the first time lining up against Peyton, like man, what am I doing in this situation? I finally made it," Cushing said in a February interview with Texans TV. "I'm a little nervous. I think I'm just a rookie or a second-year guy. You play against some of your idols and the guys you really dream about and try to emulate, but you get there one day. You're there and it's one of those things that you get used to and, hopefully one day, certain guys will tell the same thing to you."
Last preseason, Charles James II faced Manning at NRG Stadium. Technically, it was his second meeting. The first time was as a rookie for the New York Giants, but he was too nervous to approach the five-time MVP quarterback. The second time around, James made sure to shake Manning's hand before the Texans preseason game against Denver.
"You're a hell of a player, a Hall of Famer," James told Manning. "He said, 'Thanks man, I appreciate it.' Something like that."
"I mean, he doesn't know me from a can of paint so it's all good," James added, laughing.
Several Texans took to Twitter to also recognize the storied career the two-time Super Bowl winner.