Pey­ton re­turns to Indy bring­ing no­ble in­ten­tions

SundayXtra - - SPORTS FOOTBALL - By Michael Marot

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS — Pey­ton Man­ning still holds In­di­anapo­lis in a spe­cial place. Even if Denver is open­ing the sea­son against his for­mer team.

Two days af­ter Man­ning found out his re­match with the Colts would be the first Sun­day night game of the NFL’s sea­son, the reign­ing MVP re­turned to town for a very dif­fer­ent rea­son — to help host an an­nual fundraiser for the Pey­ton Man­ning Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal at St. Vin­cent.

It’s the first time Man­ning has been back since his emo­tional Oc­to­ber home­com­ing ended with Denver’s first loss of the sea­son.

“I had a pretty good feel­ing that game (Colt­sBron­cos) would be on TV,” Man­ning said as re­porters laughed. “It’s a tough sched­ule with three play­off teams (Indy, Kansas City and Seat­tle) right off the bat and we play the Colts right at the start. They’re a good team, they were right there at the end and we know they’ll be an ex­cel­lent op­po­nent.”

Man­ning ex­pects the Colts to be so good, in fact, that af­ter tak­ing a quick peek at the sched­ule Thurs­day, the record-break­ing quar­ter­back changed his plans and im­me­di­ately re­turned to the weight room. His team­mates soon fol­lowed.

What else are play­ers to do when they see the only five-time MVP in league his­tory go­ing in for an­other over­time ses­sion?

For Man­ning, there’s plenty at stake this sea­son. He’s com­ing off a year in which he proved he was back to his old ways by break­ing NFL records for yards pass­ing and TD passes and then won a third AFC ti­tle be­fore a dev­as­tat­ing blowout loss to Seat­tle in the Su­per Bowl. He wasn’t even sure he’d be back this year un­til doc­tors ex­am­ined his sur­gi­cally-re­paired neck.

Now, the 38-year-old Man­ning says, he in­tends to keep play­ing as long as his body al­lows it and as long as the Bron­cos want to keep him.

But this weekend is one of those rare times Man­ning pushes foot­ball to the back burner.

Fol­low­ing Thurs­day’s work­outs in Denver, Man­ning flew to In­di­anapo­lis and spent Fri­day with pa­tients and their fam­i­lies at the hospi­tal that bears his name.

On Satur­day night, he planned to add to the $7 mil­lion-plus to­tal he helped raise over the last six years at the Cel­e­bra­tion of Car­ing Gala. This is the third straight year he’s come from Denver to at­tend the event.

— The As­so­ci­ated Press

Pey­ton Man­ning

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