Manning realizes his comeback inspires others
Peyton Manning says he’s not sure he’s deserving of the 2013
Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year honor but is glad to be in
such elite company that includes the likes of former Tennessee
women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt.
The Broncos quarterback was recognized at a banquet at Sports
Authority Field on Monday night.
Manning has led Denver to an 11-3 record this season, his second
with the Broncos after missing the 2011 season with Indianapolis
because of neck troubles that affected his right triceps. He has
thrown 47 touchdown passes, three shy of Tom Brady’s NFL season
record, with two games remaining.
Manning is the fourth NFL quarterback to take the honor in the
past nine years, following Brady in 2005, Brett Favre in 2007 and
Drew Brees in 2010. LeBron James was the winner last year.
”It means a great deal and for one, I really accept this award
on behalf of a lot of people that have helped me,” Manning said.
”I realized that being injured and coming back from an injury and
playing is probably a large reason why I received this award.
”It’s just a great way to show how grateful I am for all the
people that have helped me and supported me: my family, teammates
and coaches on many different levels, college coaches, pro coaches
and teammates, and so I really accept that on behalf of them.
”I do feel that my comeback has inspired some people. I’ve
received letters saying that. It’s good to know that those people
are working harder and doing better because maybe I’ve given them
Chris Stone, the magazine’s managing editor, said Manning beat
out two worthy candidates in baseball: ”Mariano Rivera, who kind
of embodies a career of excellence … and David Ortiz, what he
kind of symbolized for the Red Sox toward the end of the season and
how he was kind of the face of a team that went from worst to
Stone said Manning’s honor was in a sense a lifetime achievement
”If you were to ask a 7- or 8-year-old kid what’s an example of
sportsmanship, I don’t think you could ask for a more obvious
example than when after a really tough loss last January, he took
the time out to go speak with Ray Lewis,” Stone said of Manning’s
visit to the Ravens’ locker room following Denver’s double-overtime
loss in the playoffs.
Stone said that gesture ”alone isn’t the reason we chose him as
Sportsman of the Year. It’s not even one of the primary reasons we
chose him. But I think it speaks to the type of athlete and
individual that Manning is.”
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