Peyton Manning, not just about football

The Sheriff has retired, but his work may not be done.

Former Denver Bronco and University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning announced his retirement from football after 18 years of playing in the NFL on Monday, March 7. Manning’s announcement came weeks after winning his second Super Bowl while playing in the league.

“I’ve finished my football race, and after 18 years, it’s time. God bless all of you and God bless football,” he said in closing after his announcement.

Manning, shown with the Super Bowl 50 trophy, smiles after winning his second Super Bowl while playing in the NFL. Source: cbssports.com

Manning, who has a fan base all over the country, frequently speaks of his love for his Alma Mater and he could easily be called the son of Volunteer football. Many see him as an idol wherever he has been and someone that has paved way for great football and great quarterbacks. He certainly does give back to the Knoxville community often and that is something that does not go unnoticed.

“He’s a good person for everything he does for the community even though he isn’t here anymore,” Vol fan Josh Arnold said.

Manning’s career in the NFL began in 1998 when he was chosen by the Colts with the first overall draft pick. From 1998 to 2010 he led the Colts to eight division championships and one Super Bowl victory.

“As a longtime Colts fan, I developed an immediate love for Peyton in 1998. He took a franchise that had accomplished nothing in decades and turned them into one of the league’s best and most consistent forces,” Jarrod Sherman, contributing writer at the Harlan Daily Enterprise said.

He is the only quarterback to achieve 200 career wins and has an NFL record for 14 4,000-yard passing seasons. Manning was named best player in the NFL in 2009 and Sports Illustrated, along with Fox Sports, named him NFL player of the decade for the 2000s. In March 2012 he was released from the Colts, just short of a year after undergoing the first of two neck surgeries that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season. He then signed with the Broncos and played with them four years before winning his second and final Super Bowl.

Manning pictured with his Colts uniform after the NFL draft in 1998. Manning played for the Colts for 14 years before becoming a Denver Bronco. Source: colts.com

Manning’s retirement was not a surprise to most, a quarterback of his age still playing in the league is almost unheard of but it is his sense of competition that kept him on the field.

“He is a competitor,” Ryan Robinson said.

Robinson, who is now the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Communications at UT, formerly worked for the Colts and then went on to work personally for Manning and oversaw the Peyback Foundation. The Peyback Foundation is a charity based in Indianapolis that Manning started that helps underprivileged children and fills in as a support system for them. Robinson spent a lot of one-on-one time with Manning over the years and still considers him a friend, even now years later. He considers Manning’s charity work something to credit to his father, Archie.

“Peyton was taught by his family no matter where you are to always give back to your church, you give back to your high school, you give back to your college, and you give back to the cities you’ve been in,” Robinson said.

His playing days may be over but it would be hard to say that Manning will go completely out of the spotlight since he will no longer be on the field. The rumor mill has even started turning that Manning will be a coach one day but while speaking when speaking with a class of sports journalism students, Robinson said he felt that Manning would take some time and be with his family for a while, time to decompress.

“No offense to coaching, but I really hope he does something extraordinary. He has to be at the highest level,” Robinson said.

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