In less than two weeks, former Vol Peyton Manning will take the field with the Denver Broncos as he tries to win a second Super Bowl trophy.
Manning has come a long way since his days at Neyland, but all that time away has had little impact on just how special he is to Big Orange faithful.
"Peyton Manning is by far one of the best professional role models in sports today," said fan Tim Landefeld.
Vols fans say they continue to stick behind Manning because of the loyalty he's always shown UT. Susan Richardson Williams served on the Board of Trustees for UT from 1995 to 2007. She said all of the exposure he has brought to the school has been immeasurable.
"He will always be a legend in East Tennessee and the University of Tennessee," she said.
Alumni share that sentiment.
"He's so great about coming to back to campus to enrich the lives of our students and faculty," said UT Dir. of Alumni Programs Eric Haag. "He's very generous with his time."
And, that's not just talk. Manning has established a scholarship for UT students. He gave $500,000 to the Pat Summitt Alzheimers Foundation. The star quarterback even participates in a charity golf tournament with East Tennessee Children's Hospital.
"He was raised to a family that was committed to the community and saw the need, they've been very blessed, and they feel it's their responsibility to give back, so I see that in Peyton," said Carlton Long, vice-president of development and community services for East Tennessee Children's Hospital.
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