INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Proceed with caution, Colts fans.
The weekend is almost upon us in Canton, Ohio, and Peyton Manning is readying to take the stage at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The rules state Manning has eight minutes to relive one of the most electrifying careers in sports history. The five-time MVP has surely carved out a plan to maximize his message, which will without a doubt leave adoring fans in Louisiana, Tennessee, Indiana, and Colorado in tears.
Don’t turn around because the rest of the sports world will be fighting back the same emotions. Few, if any, have maneuvered a life of superstardom like Manning.
While preparing for this mountain top moment ahead on Sunday, those closest to the two-time Super Bowl champion are still baffled by their former quarterback.
“Like, he can’t go to the grocery store to grab a gallon of milk and loaf of bread; it would take him an hour,” former Colts tight end Dallas Clark said.
From high school ball at the Newman School in New Orleans to his final snap as a professional with the 2016 world champion Denver Broncos, coaches, teammates and arch enemies on the opposite sidelines knew who the most prepared player on the field was.
“We would play Friday night, and here we are on Saturday morning. He is the first one in the door (at the high school) beside one of my coaches,” Manning’s former high school football coach Tony Reginelli said. “He wants to know if I have studied the film and everything. We hadn’t even put the uniforms away yet, and he’s already working on the next team.”
Those habits stayed with Manning throughout his career.
“Anything he asked you to do, he had already done,” former Colts center Jeff Saturday said. “That is what I appreciated most.”
Of course, the pranks were epic. Colts training camp housed some of Manning’s best work, annually producing the tales many teammates struggle to build into a top-five list. There is too much gold.
“He never put himself in a position where you could confirm or deny that it was him doing the prank,” former Colts quarterback Jim Sorgi said. “The best prank, allegedly, a golf cart ended up on a raft in the middle of the pond at Rose-Hulman (Institute of Technology).”
“At our summer workouts, at the end of the workouts, we would do these planks,” Clark added. “The funniest thing in the world is when he would basically roast all of the rookies. Talk about prom, talk about dates, you would forget how miserable it was and that you couldn’t feel your body.”
“Hard Knocks, they couldn’t afford it,” Clark continued. “It would be priceless.”
No currency equates to the memories of this football journey. Peyton Manning is the epitome of a first overall draft pick. The only destination for this story? Canton, Ohio.