On Sept. 6, 1998, peyton Manning made his first start for the Indianapolis Colts in the NFl.
I was six years old when that game happened. I don't remember much, if anything at all.
On Feb. 7, 2016, Manning may have played his last game ever as NFL quarterback.
I was 23 years old when that game happened. I remember everything, and I always will remember the way Manning held himself with such high class and played the game the right way.
You don't even have to be a big fan of peyton Manning as a football player to be a peyton Manning fan. That's why he is one of the greats.
Whether you're actually a fan of Manning on the football field, or you just love his papa John's and Nationwide commercials, what makes peyton Manning great goes beyond all of that.
When asked about how he wants to be remembered, Manning's answer was one that may surprise people. He doesn't want to be remembered as one of the best ever. He doesn't want to be considered as a Hall of Famer even.
Although those weren't his answers, deep down you know that he doesn't want to be remembered as those. He simply chose to say what is more important than football, and that's being a role model.
When it comes to professional sports, the athletes who take part in them aren't really the best role models for kids. They are countless references to sex, drugs, alcohol and profanity used by players every day, even every play!
Peyton Manning's answer when he was asked how he wanted to be remembered is something I think every athlete should hear and hold close to them.
It's so rare to see a professional athlete these days hold themselves in the way peyton Manning has done his entire career.
When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Manning told Bill Cowler this: "Two of the most important things to me would be, that my teammates said that I was a great teammate. That's important to me. I think coaches that I played with, and played against, would say that they respected me. That would be important to me. That's something my dad has always told me. Strive for, earn the respect of your teammates, earn the respect of the coaches you play for, and against. That would be the most important thing to me from a football standpoint."
It's safe to say Manning has accomplished that.
When peyton walked off the field after handing the ball off one last time, who was there to meet him? None other than Josh Norman, a Carolina panther.
What I hope everyone saw, and especially young athletes, is the respect that everyone has for peyton Manning. He plays the game right. He's a great teammate and a great leader.
It's so rare to see someone like peyton in professional sports. A class act is hard to find anywhere these days, let alone in professional sports where it always seems to be about me, myself and I.
Whether or not that was Manning's last game in the NFL, I hope kids watched how much everyone respected him, even the players he played against.
If you truly want to be considered one of the greats, you have to be a good teammate and earn that respect the right way.
I hope Manning retires because I think he deserves to go out on top like this and on his own terms. It wasn't an easy year for him at all, but look what he did.
Peyton, if you decide to come back or if you decide to hang it up, just know that legacy you left on the NFL, the legacy you wanted, will definitely be remembered.
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