Peyton and Me

Peyton Manning

As an NFL scout you are exposed to a variety of experiences on the road. I was at the University of Tennessee to evaluate prospects in my area.  I got in to the facility around 7:30 or 8:00 AM and because the Volunteers had so many prospects at that time I got hunkered down in my seat with a Cowboy remote control to take notes. After a morning of film, visits with trainers, coaches, and guidance counselors I went down to the weight room in the afternoon to see the strength coach. A friendly, angular young man came up and introduced himself, “Hello coach, my name is Peyton Manning.” After our cordial greetings Peyton asked me to say hello to Charlie Garner, Tommy Hutton, and Bubba Miller – three of his former Vol teammates who were now Philadelphia Eagles. After practice at around 6:00 PM I returned to the film room to continue my note taking in silence. All the other scouts departed for their following day’s destination. At about 10:00 PM I left the film room to grab a soda. I walked down the stairs to find the alcove where I searched for a soda machine that would spit out a Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew. As I headed down the stairs I saw someone working out in the lighted corner of the indoor practice facility. Then I heard a voice, “Coach, what are you looking for?” It was Peyton Manning. I walked toward him and asked what he was doing at 10:00 at night. He said, “Coach, I have several weaknesses that I need to work on.” At that time he was working on his footwork in the pocket, repeatedly dropping back 3, 5, 7 steps making sure he was in balance throwing the ball. “The soda machine is in the 3rd alcove.” I thanked Peyton and we both went about our work. When I walked back up the stairs to the film room I looked back and the facility was dimly lit except where Peyton was working out. There seemed to be a spotlight on his workout area. Somehow I thought back then that I was witnessing something special.

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