KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Peyton Manning said he has given all he can on the football field, but there remains an endless supply of wisdom.
Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion and five-time NFL MVP, shared an important message about seniority with the Tennessee football team on Monday.
“When I talk to the team that’s all I want to share, there’s nothing like being a senior here, and for all the underclassmen to really appreciate what it means to be a senior and to give their all,” Manning said. “I know when I was an underclassman, I really wanted to win for guys like Bubba Miller and James “Little Man” Stewart, and so it’s just a special opportunity.
“This group of seniors has been through a lot, and so I hope they can finish off their careers here at the University of Tennessee on a positive note, and I’ll be pulling for them every step of the way.”
Manning, who was in Knoxville to host his annual golf tournament to raise money for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and present the four scholarships he annually endows, said he’s no longer going to work out with the team, as had been customary.
“I played as long as I could, and I gave it 18 long years,” said Manning, who retired after leading the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. “I’m out of eligibility.”
Manning said he has had a busy retirement to date, but added that there have been no football withdrawals.
That said, Tennessee’s all-time leading passer made it clear he’s anxious to see his beloved Vols play this fall.
“I’m a huge Butch Jones fan, I love his commitment to the university, and I just feel we have the stability back in our football program that we were used to having for so many years and that created a new standard around here,” Manning said. “I’m really looking forward to watching them play.”
Manning said he will be at midfield for the coin toss along with Virginia Tech legend Bruce Smith when the Vols and Hokies tangle in the Battle of Bristol on Sept 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway.