In his short time with the Broncos, Peyton Manning made a lasting impression on not only the team, but the city of Denver and the community of Broncos Country. It’s safe to say that Broncos Country also left quite the impression on Manning, who has become a regular fixture at Denver’s offseason activities, while rarely interacting with the Indianapolis Colts who he spent most of his career with.
In a recent interview with the Broncos website, Manning talked about his continued relationship with the team and their prized star. “We come to all the Broncos games, so I enjoy some of the guys that I’ve played with, like Von Miller. I still enjoy watching him compete.”
The interview focused on the different NFL players that made Peyton Manning the player that he was. This included his father, Archie Manning, being his mentor in elementary school to his brother, Eli Manning, being a mentor to him while both were in the league. While going through the players that shaped him, Peyton Manning listed only one non-quarterback who Manning said had the greatest impact on him after his retirement. Von Miller.
“Maybe this tells you how special he is that I’m not looking at quarterbacks now, I’m watching outside linebackers and pass rushers. People ask me a lot of times, ‘Who is the best athlete you ever played with?’ And I say, ‘Von Miller.’ Just some of the things he can do physically is special,” Manning said. He went on to talk about the impact Miller has on the crowd and the atmosphere of the game.
“When you come to a Broncos game and they’re on defense, you find yourself kind of locked in, seeing this might be the game-changing sack-fumble play, or interception–some kind of game-changing play he can make. I like the way he handles his business and like the way he competes out there.”
That’s some lofty praise coming from a Hall of Fame, top-five quarterback of all time. And it’s not like Manning was surrounded by a bunch of unathletic bums for the rest of his career either. Manning played with Hall-of-Fame-caliber edge rushers like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, pass-catchers like Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark, and others like Bob Sanders and Edgerrin James who were hyper-athletic.
This time next year Manning may have even more praise for the former Aggie, as the 2019 season could be one of Miller’s absolute best. Not only could the addition of Vic Fangio, Ed Donatell and their defensive scheme lead to a boost in production for Miller, but he’ll also now have Bradley Chubb with a rookie season and a full offseason under his belt. Perhaps Manning will be adding Chubb to the list next.