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Going out on top: Legends who closed with a title

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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning closed his career in the same manner as John Elway, retiring after winning his second Super Bowl title.

Elway retired after the 1998 season with his two rings, 300 career touchdown passes and a host of memorable postseason victories. Manning leaves with his name atop the NFL's all-time lists for touchdown passes, passing yards and combined regular-season and postseason wins.

They're not the only sports legends to leave on top. Here are some of the other memorable athletes to do so:

Joe DiMaggio

DiMaggio had a stellar career in pinstripes highlighted by nine World Series championships and three American League MVP awards. The Yankees great hung up his cleats after winning three consecutive World Series from 1949 to 1951.

Bill Russell

The aging 1968-69 Celtics squad limped into the postseason but caught fire down the stretch. It was Russell’s third season as player-coach, and the Celtics repeated as NBA champions, defeating a Lakers team that featured Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West in seven games. Russell promptly retired following the Finals, finishing his career with 11 titles in 13 seasons.

David Robinson

After serving his country in the Navy, Robinson joined the NBA and helped turn the Spurs into one of the sport's most respected franchises. His 14-season career included two titles, including one in 2003 that closed his time in the NBA.

Jerome Bettis

Bettis played 13 seasons in the NFL but didn't get a ring until his final one, when the 2005 Steelers won the Super Bowl. Though Bettis was held to 43 yards on 14 carries in the win over the Seahawks, he played an integral role in getting them to the big game, scoring a touchdown in each of their first three postseason games.

Rocky Marciano

Marciano finished his career as the world heavyweight champion, defeating Archie Moore in a 1955 title fight. Marciano got knocked down early in the second round but rebounded, scoring a knockout in the ninth round. He finished his career 49-0 with 43 knockouts.

Ray Bourque

Bourque won his only Stanley Cup in the 2000-01 season with the Colorado Avalanche, and he was quite productive in the postseason. Bourque totaled four goals and 10 points in 21 games that postseason en route to the Cup. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.

Maurice Richard

Richard didn't close his career with just one Stanley Cup. The player nicknamed "The Rocket" won a Stanley Cup in each of his last five NHL seasons, the last coming in 1959-60, when the Canadiens swept the Blackhawks. Richard retired with 544 career goals and eight championship rings in an 18-year career.

Pete Sampras

Sampras hadn’t won a title since winning Wimbledon in 2000 -- but his game came alive at Flushing Meadows in 2002 as he won his fifth US Open title. He took down longtime rival Andre Agassi in the final in four sets. That was his last professional tournament. He finished with 14 major titles.