Peyton Manning at W&M camp: I have fun just like all the kids do

kholtzman@vagazette.com

WILLIAMSBURG - If catching a pass from a future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback seemed at all unsettling, Peyton Manning sent a message of reassurance to the campers on Sunday at Zable Stadium before the first drill involving the Denver Broncos quarterback commenced.

"If you drop a pass, it won't end up on YouTube. I promise," Manning said, donning a white visor, short-sleeve shirt and shorts.

Manning tossed passes and offered instruction to the William and Mary Colonial All-Pro Football Camp youth participants for about an hour before spending a few minutes with media gathered inside the Jimmye Laycock Football Center.

"It's hot out here," Manning said. "You don't hear any complaints out of these kids. They truly love football for the right reasons with a passion for it. It's always been a great reminder for me being around these young kids."

"I have fun just like all the kids do," Manning added, near the end of the press conference.

The Manning family has held the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana for 20 years. He said these sorts of events make him appreciate his profession.

New England tight end Rob Gronkowski and Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly are also scheduled to serve as guest instructors at William and Mary's camp, which is annually an NFL star-studded affair.

"Our football camp in Louisiana, like this camp, it's always kind of right before training camp gets started," Manning said. "It's a great reminder to me, to Eli (Manning), that works at our camp, I'm sure to the other players, Gronkowski and Kuechly that are here, to how lucky we are to be playing a game for a living."

Manning deflected a question about him being eight wins from breaking Brett Favre's regular-season record for most wins as a quarterback in NFL history, politely saying he was in "football camp-mode" and would address NFL-related questions when he returns to Broncos camp.

Laycock, the longtime Tribe football head coach, was the last person to bid Manning farewell as he hopped in the passenger side of a black SUV just outside of the building that bears Laycock's name.

The next stop for Manning is Knoxville and his alma mater, Tennessee, for workouts.

 

 

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