Cheers from Peyton Manning for Vols

Denver QB plans to be at Alabama game

Peyton Manning addresses the media for the Peyton Manning Golf Classic at Fox Den Country Club on Monday.

Photo by Erin Chapin

Peyton Manning addresses the media for the Peyton Manning Golf Classic at Fox Den Country Club on Monday.

Peyton Manning talks Colorado and Tennessee football

Quarterback Peyton Manning has switched NFL jerseys — from the Indianapolis Colts to the Denver Broncos — but his loyalty to the University of Tennessee will never waver.

UT is Manning's alma mater, the place where he gained national stardom (1994-97), where he won over throngs of fans with his amazing talent, tenacious work ethic, and affable personality.

Once a Vol. Always a Vol.

You could hear it in his voice Monday during a break from the Peyton Manning Golf Classic at Fox Den Country Club benefitting Children's Hospital and Manning's PeyBack Foundation.

"I'll be pulling hard for them (the Vols) this year," said Manning.

No need to tell Manning this is a pivotal season for UT and football coach Derek Dooley.

UT has had losing seasons in both years under Dooley — going 6-7 in 2010 and 5-7 last season. The Vols are 4-12 in SEC games under Dooley, including a 1-7 record in 2011 and a stunning loss to Kentucky.

"It's a big year (for UT)," Manning said. "It's such a tough schedule. The SEC really reminds me of the NFL, that it's so competitive, so I think it's an important year for us. Talking to some of the folks over there, I know they've had a good offseason, they've worked hard, had a good spring, and it will be important to have a good summer and to play well this season."

And it's a big year for Manning, who missed the 2011 season after multiple neck surgeries. Still, Manning plans to be at UT's Oct. 20 game against Alabama at Neyland Stadium — during the Broncos' bye week — and it will be a memorable day for him and his former UT coach, Phillip Fulmer.

"I'm looking forward to that game," Manning said. "I can't tell you how excited I am for Coach Fulmer going into the College (Football) Hall of Fame this year, and they're going to honor him that weekend, so it will be special to be here for that."

Manning was at UT later Monday to present the Peyton Manning Scholar

ship winners and is expected to return today and work out with some of the Vols.

There might be some strained relationships for Colts fans who have a tough time seeing Manning in another NFL uniform. The 36-year-old Manning spent 14 years with the Colts, but Indianapolis allowed him to became a free agent after the 2011 season, and he signed a five-year $96 million contract with the Broncos in March.

However, Manning expects to have his share of Broncos fans in East Tennessee.

"I think in this part of the country, I've always felt like fans around here, maybe not necessarily were Colts fans," the four-time NFL MVP said. "I think they were just kind of fans of me, fans of all the former players that have played here at Tennessee. I certainly think you've got Titan fans here. I've had some fans that say they'll be tuning into Broncos' games, but of course we've got four Tennessee Vols on the Broncos."

Manning will be playing alongside punter Britton Colquitt, linebacker Robert Ayres, and rookie defensive lineman Malik Jackson, all former Vols.

"It's the most Tennessee players I've played with at one time since I've been back in college," Manning said, "so I've always thought folks here in Knoxville, East Tennessee, have always kept up with their alumni, so it's fun to be playing with some former Vols."

Manning, who's entering his 15th NFL season, is still regaining his arm strength after having neck fusion surgery in September. He has spent as much time as possible working out with the Broncos. He finished mini camp with the Broncos last Thursday and has about five weeks off before the start of training camp July 25.

Asked if contact was a concern once he gets into live football, Manning said, "No, it's not."

Instead, Manning is mainly concerned with getting back with his new teammates, back into the film room, and learning a new system.

"No question it's been a huge transition for me, and obviously not playing last year, every chance I can get to do a team activity, a seven-on-seven drill, being in the huddle, calling different plays, different language, you feel kind of like a rookie again in a lot of ways, except you're not allowed to play like one," Manning said. "But I've made this clear from the get-go that I still have rehab that I have to do."

Dave Link is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 41

FanNotSheep writes:

It's still great to be a Tennessee Vol fan.

And it would be greater still if all the fans carried themselves with half as much class as Manning.

troubleinc writes:

Whenever you decide to hang 'em up Peyton, please come on back home to Knoxville for good.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

Peyton and his backup Todd Helton reunited!

givehim6 writes:

Hope Peyton gets a chance to speak to the guys before they hit the field, a fire the Vols speach. Hey, mabey PM can bring Britton with him to kick for us that day?

PureOrange writes:

Peyton has certainly been a tremendous ambassador for UT. It has been a pleasure to watch him, and to pull for him as he continues to do great things.

He is definitely a class act.

Voluvr writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Max Staver is a QB from Brentwood Academy who played at Pope JP II in Hendersonville and the coach wanted him at end so he left and went to BA. He's 6'5" which got him the offer. He throws okay and is a clunky upright runner. I overheard someone saying a personal trainer expressed concern that he doesn't listen well or feel he has a need for personal coaching. That may not be true. I saw him play once and he's no Manning. Good for him he has a supporting cast around him that includes Chris Sanders son who started at RB for BA at the age of 14.

Voluvr writes:

I'm glad he's not going to UT.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Peyton knows us. I had really not paid any attention to NFL football for many years (since I was in about 9th grade or so). Starting in 1998, I became a Colts fan and started watching again. Now I'm a Broncos fan.

I'm also a Saints (Meachem) fan and a Texans (Foster) fan.

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

Small Mike used to call in the shows and call the Colts fans "Titan fans in waiting" Well, he's right, except there's a stop along being a Bronco fan first. Does anyone think the big orange will do good this year?

govolsn3 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

It's still great to be a Tennessee Vol fan.

And it would be greater still if all the fans carried themselves with half as much class as Manning.

Very well stated. Peyton is such a class act. I am ALL VOL till the bitter end and as outspoken as I am the blood will always run ORANGE

RoadTrip writes:

PM hit the nail on the head. Most of us are PM and former Vol fans first and above all. If the Titans wanted to increase their fan base they would draft, sign and play more Vol players. Until they do they can stay Nashville's team.

RoadTrip writes:

in response to AlexAndersonAAradio:

Small Mike used to call in the shows and call the Colts fans "Titan fans in waiting" Well, he's right, except there's a stop along being a Bronco fan first. Does anyone think the big orange will do good this year?

It is a quiet tornado building intensity on the Hill from all sources.

BigBadVol writes:

Peyton, Al Wilson, Eric Berry, and Coach Summitt are my all-time favorite Vols. I'm sure I left someone out but I admire these individuals immensely.

Southland writes:

wished he could talk to Bray and convince him that he (Bray) has a great arm but if he wants to be a great player he needs to lose some attitude and learn to study film

Tau_of_Tennessee writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

PM hit the nail on the head. Most of us are PM and former Vol fans first and above all. If the Titans wanted to increase their fan base they would draft, sign and play more Vol players. Until they do they can stay Nashville's team.

Right on target. My only interest in the NFL is former Vols success. I will be a Broncos fan this year.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to Southland:

wished he could talk to Bray and convince him that he (Bray) has a great arm but if he wants to be a great player he needs to lose some attitude and learn to study film

You've been on this board since 2007 and surely you have insight that the rest of us don't, so tell us, what is Bray thinking (attitude) and how much film study does he do? Have the coaches ever taken issue with his atitude other than the fact that he is a cocky young man with swagger?

Southland writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

You've been on this board since 2007 and surely you have insight that the rest of us don't, so tell us, what is Bray thinking (attitude) and how much film study does he do? Have the coaches ever taken issue with his atitude other than the fact that he is a cocky young man with swagger?

get your panties out of a wad I said he was good and he could be great. You have only been on here since 07 as well but what does that mean. I have been a Vol fan since 1964 when I was old enough to know who they are. I do have some insight. Yes the coaches have taken issue and he sets the run up so well doesnt he. He could be a great qb if he took the time to listen to one of the best ever now go somewhere and calm down

mtthw741 writes:

in response to PureOrange:

Peyton has certainly been a tremendous ambassador for UT. It has been a pleasure to watch him, and to pull for him as he continues to do great things.

He is definitely a class act.

Except when he CHOSE Denver over Tennessee. That was a sad day for me.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to Southland:

get your panties out of a wad I said he was good and he could be great. You have only been on here since 07 as well but what does that mean. I have been a Vol fan since 1964 when I was old enough to know who they are. I do have some insight. Yes the coaches have taken issue and he sets the run up so well doesnt he. He could be a great qb if he took the time to listen to one of the best ever now go somewhere and calm down

I have evidentially touched a nerve that has been bothering you for some time. Little touchy there aren't we. I didn't say ONLY been here since 2007. I merely stated you have been here since that point in time. As for the been a Vol fan since 1964, I've been a vol fan all my life, which is probably considerably longer than yours. Don't wear panties, tried it one time and really didn't care for it. As for the part about Bray needing to change his attitude (as per your first post) I believe there was news from spring practice that that had taken place during that time. Now, as for you're directing me to go somewhere and calm down. 1) I am very calm, and, 2) I am somewhere. Seems to me the panty wadding has been located and it isn't me. And if I need someone to tell me what to do, I will consult my wife.

murrayvol writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Peyton knows us. I had really not paid any attention to NFL football for many years (since I was in about 9th grade or so). Starting in 1998, I became a Colts fan and started watching again. Now I'm a Broncos fan.

I'm also a Saints (Meachem) fan and a Texans (Foster) fan.

Root for all the NFL Vols and you'll be spreading your enthusiasm pretty thin my friend.

hueypilot writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Root for all the NFL Vols and you'll be spreading your enthusiasm pretty thin my friend.

That pretty much sums up my enthusiasm for the No Fun League, where, with the exception of the Denver Broncos last year and a little Ronnie Brown Wildcat in Miami a few years back, everybody runs pretty much the same offense, people seldom run a trick play like a fake field goal or punt, or an on sides kick (when they do like the Saints in the SB it's such a shock) and defenses are so good they have to keep changing the rules so teams can score. I have said many times I had rather someone go to a college game and come back and tell me about it than go to an NFL game. If it weren't for guys like Peyton, Foster, heck Peyton's baby brother, I'm not really interested in pro ball. I think it may be a southern football thing. I know here in Jacksonville, some of the sports talk shows have to state they are pro only or the talk would be mostly Gators, FSU, Dawgs and SEC football. I know Nashville has embraced the Titans, but look what they had to compete with.....Dynomite? I think compared to college football, the NFL is a bore.

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to AlexAndersonAAradio:

Small Mike used to call in the shows and call the Colts fans "Titan fans in waiting" Well, he's right, except there's a stop along being a Bronco fan first. Does anyone think the big orange will do good this year?

Never agreed with much of anything he ever said, including this one.

I don't see any reason to pull for the Tight 'uns. They don't show any loyalty to their players, (think how they treated Steve McNair and Eddie George) and hardly ever keep a guy once he earns the right to a bigger salary. Plus, I never was an Oilers fan. Just because they're in Nashville now that means I should be a fan? Why? I've never pulled for Vanderbilt.

If the Tight 'uns want Vol fans to be their fans, why do they always have fewer former Vols on their roster than New England, Denver, Dallas and Buffalo?

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

Peyton and his backup Todd Helton reunited!

Actually Peyton was Helton's backup.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Peyton knows us. I had really not paid any attention to NFL football for many years (since I was in about 9th grade or so). Starting in 1998, I became a Colts fan and started watching again. Now I'm a Broncos fan.

I'm also a Saints (Meachem) fan and a Texans (Foster) fan.

That's pretty much the kind of NFL fan I am, too. I watch pro football but I bleed orange, so my favorite team in a given game is the one with the most ex-Vols on it. I'm NOT that big a fan of the few who name their high schools or junior highs instead of UT in the pre-game intros on the Sunday or Monday night games. Of course, former Vols are not the only ones who do that.

Go4Two writes:

The Alabama game will be super Phil own Bama great game to honor his hall of fame.

not_guilty writes:

in response to Salma_Hayek_is_my_Wife:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What is there to admire about Albert Haynesworth?

Jakevol writes:

Maybe the honor for Phil Fulmer will help at the Bama game.. Fulmer had a great record when playing Bama.

gillblog writes:

My crystal ball tells me we all need to cherish these next 2-3 years of NFL play and not just because Peyton (hopefully) will be playing that long. The crystal ball shows an almost unrecognizable 'football' game will be emerging in a few years. A game which will be so different from today's style of play it may be no more interesting than arena football.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

lil z how come you haven't been giving any updates about the college world series

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to VolFanInTheBoro:

lil z how come you haven't been giving any updates about the college world series

Volfanintheboro,

Since the Gators lost, the kid, Bodeane, will now jump on the band wagon with someone else. If the Vols should defeat the Lizards this year, this kid will jump in Lake Alice. Wait........he probably doesn't know where that is......

VolGrad writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Will always love Manning, but:

Go STEELERS!

VolGrad writes:

in response to ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER:

Actually Peyton was Helton's backup.

Actually they both started that year as Colquitt's backups. Darn injuries. Worked out well for Peyton though.

http://blogs.knoxnews.com/mattingly/2...

VolGrad writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe you should switch to Pinot Noir, eh?

GBO!

voloffaith writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Maybe you should switch to Pinot Noir, eh?

GBO!

Is that vintage Boones Farm?

murrayvol writes:

in response to hueypilot:

That pretty much sums up my enthusiasm for the No Fun League, where, with the exception of the Denver Broncos last year and a little Ronnie Brown Wildcat in Miami a few years back, everybody runs pretty much the same offense, people seldom run a trick play like a fake field goal or punt, or an on sides kick (when they do like the Saints in the SB it's such a shock) and defenses are so good they have to keep changing the rules so teams can score. I have said many times I had rather someone go to a college game and come back and tell me about it than go to an NFL game. If it weren't for guys like Peyton, Foster, heck Peyton's baby brother, I'm not really interested in pro ball. I think it may be a southern football thing. I know here in Jacksonville, some of the sports talk shows have to state they are pro only or the talk would be mostly Gators, FSU, Dawgs and SEC football. I know Nashville has embraced the Titans, but look what they had to compete with.....Dynomite? I think compared to college football, the NFL is a bore.

Agree.....and then there's the NBA.

murrayvol writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Maybe you should switch to Pinot Noir, eh?

GBO!

Thunderbird.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to gillblog:

My crystal ball tells me we all need to cherish these next 2-3 years of NFL play and not just because Peyton (hopefully) will be playing that long. The crystal ball shows an almost unrecognizable 'football' game will be emerging in a few years. A game which will be so different from today's style of play it may be no more interesting than arena football.

You may be right. All the new research about the long-term effects of concussions and such will force a complete rethinking of the wisdom of letting big, strong, fast men run into each other over and over and over for 20 or so years altogether. Couple this with growing evidence that younger players are even more vulnerable to long-term damage than previously thought, and you will see a fundamental rethinking of the game. It will be the biggest change in the game since the introduction of the forward pass, the outlawing of the flying wedge, and the requirement that players wear hard hats. And none of this even touches on the uncontrolled expense and shamateurism of modern-day college football....

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to gillblog:

My crystal ball tells me we all need to cherish these next 2-3 years of NFL play and not just because Peyton (hopefully) will be playing that long. The crystal ball shows an almost unrecognizable 'football' game will be emerging in a few years. A game which will be so different from today's style of play it may be no more interesting than arena football.

My opinion is the NFL has become almost too dangerous. The size and strength of the players is creating impacts of such violence that the players need airbags in their helmets. Former players are beginning to resemble Ali and other ex-boxers. I hate to turn on a game and see a player lying motionless on the field, a sight that is becoming more commonplace each year.

Manning has been one of the best protected QBs in the game but he almost had his head ripped off once. No wonder his neck was in such bad shape. If I had a son who was a great athlete I think I'd steer him toward baseball or golf before I would allow him to play football.

gillblog writes:

Your father-son perspective is a very revealing indication of the seriousness here. Even Chris Carter, who is apparently still in excellent health and genuinely loves the game (and made a lot of money through it ) has said he would advise his son NOT to play football.

min32926#266113 writes:

Peyton is a cool guy. I wish him luck in Denver. I'll be a Denver fan while Peyton is their QB. I'm glad he will be at the game honoring Coach Fulmer. GBO.

ncvol17 writes:

in response to not_guilty:

What is there to admire about Albert Haynesworth?

I thought I read he paid his scholarship back when he made it big in NFL..B4 last few years debacle.

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