The Broncos quarterback wasn’t the only person named Peyton Manning in attendance at Friday’s practice.
The team was joined by an eighth grader with the same name as the famous signal caller. The younger Manning said the introduction was one he had looked forward to his entire life.
“It was a great experience,” the eighth grader said. “It was really good to meet somebody who’s been my idol my whole life and such a classy guy. It was just really good to meet him.”
The boy’s parents named him after Manning when he made the decision to return to the University of Tennessee for his senior season. He said that aside from people’s skepticism that his name is really Peyton Manning, he’s always enjoyed having the same name as one of his heroes.
“There’s been no limitations,” the boy said. “The biggest problem is nowadays people don’t believe me about my name. They’re all like, ‘Oh, you’re kidding around.’ Or substitute teachers will think I’m just playing a joke on them, but I’m always serious.”
The younger Manning has been a fan of No. 18 since the quarterback’s days with the Indianapolis Colts, as evidenced by a 2006 family Christmas card with the young Peyton and both his siblings in Manning jerseys.
In addition to watching practice and touring the Broncos’ Dove Valley practice facility, the younger Manning posed for a picture with his longtime idol and received an autographed football. He also left with a bit of advice for his young hockey career, and as a captain of his youth travel team, the elder Manning’s words made an impact.
“We just talked and he gave me great advice on how to be a good leader in life and in hockey,” the eighth grader said. “He said to lead through examples, always be working hard and make sure to set the bar high, work as hard as you can whenever you can.”
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