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Published on 03/29/2012 at Thu Mar 29 11:45.
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(Photo: Albert Dickson/TSN/Icon SMI)

Peyton Manning will once again don orange on the football field, but it won’t be the first time he’s been clad in carrot. He was once a Tennessee Volunteer, after all.

More to the point, he was once a freshman.

Check out this archived article from The Tennesseean, written during Manning’s freshman year with the Vols. It portrays Manning as an up-and-comer, showing all the signs of the hard-working leader we’re just getting to know as Broncos fans today, but with a fun anecdote or two.

Sometime you gotta skip the theatrics and just play football, kid.

Manning leaned in to complete the 11-man oval, his spotless uniform contrasting against the blood and sweat and smell of the others. It wasn’t yet halftime, but Tennessee was already beaten and it showed. Florida was quick-kicking the Vols all over the Neyland Stadium field, and emotions were strained.

Attempting to rally the troops, Manning offered encouraging words to his older, wiser teammates. But the impromptu pep talk didn’t get far.

“Shut the bleep up and call the bleeping play,” said offensive tackle Jason Layman, three years Manning’s senior and infinitely wiser in the ways of the college football world.

Welcome to the Southeastern Conference.

The author admits some “journalistic license” may have been taken with Layman’s quote, but the point is the same. Even Greatest NFL Free Agents of All Time were once fired-up young whippersnappers, sharing the huddle with blood-scarred giants.

Now Manning is the giant, infinitely wiser in the ways of the professional football world. His Broncos teammates are the ones who must listen and learn.

(H/T Lindsay Jones, Denver Post)

Peyton Manning Takes the Reins at Tennessee [Athlon Sports/The Tennesseean]

  • Tom9798

    Thanks Monty . . . great article! . . . . you have to scroll down to find it, but well worth the read.

    Another interesting nugget from this article, Todd Helton.