DENVER (AP/CBS4) — Peyton Manning sold 31 Papa John’s stores along Colorado’s Front Range last week, two days before the NFL dropped the chain as its official pizza sponsor.

peyton manning Manning Sold Papa Johns Stores 2 Days Before NFL Cut Chain

Peyton Manning at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The Denver Post reported Wednesday that Papa John’s spokesman Peter Collins confirmed the former NFL quarterback sold his stake to an existing Papa John’s franchisee.

Manning will remain Papa John’s celebrity spokesman and brand ambassador. He wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Manning bought the locations in 2012 right after signing with the Broncos.

peyton manning papa johns 5vo transfer frame 427 Manning Sold Papa Johns Stores 2 Days Before NFL Cut Chain

Peyton Manning in a Papa John’s commercial. (credit: CBS)

The NFL and Papa John’s ended their deal Feb. 27, and the league announced a multiyear marketing deal with Pizza Hut the following day. The NFL’s relationship with Papa John’s was strained last year when company founder John Schnatter criticized the league’s leadership about national anthem protests by players.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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