INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – “I’ve always been a prep guy. I never had anything to prepare me for something like this,” said Peyton Manning after his nine foot statue was unveiled outside Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Not being ready is rare for the most prepared athlete in the NFL and the ceremony, filled with former teammates and Colts officials brought Peyton back to his heyday in Indy.
“I never really went down memory lane,” added Manning. “But this celebration reflecting on a lot of memories between hearing some Jim Irsay stories, Bill Polian, coach Dungy and all the other speakers made it emotional and certainly a moment I’ll never forget.”
And those who went down memory lane with Manning think the statue is a fitting tribute.
“He really was the catalyst,” said former Colts center Jeff Saturday, who played 12 years with Manning. “So impactful uniting us all. We had a lot of great players, but he’s the one who drove it and that statue is pretty awesome. It’s really an honor to be here.”
Tony Dungy, Manning’s coach has seen a lot of statues of players across the country, but this one is very special to him.
“It’s well-deserved. It’s a great reminder to young people in this community and everybody who comes here that this is what being a professional football player is all about.”
And what was Manning’s reaction to his likeness?
“I think it’s pretty incredible. It does look like me. I was always on my toes throwing. He’s got the knee brace built in there, has the sweatband. It’s really hard to describe, I’m still taking it all in.”
Colts fans, who will see Manning’s number 18 retired Sunday at halftime of the game with San Francisco will call it awesome.