Manning’s Back in Town – Upstages Luck at Fundraiser

Andrew Luck’s first full weekend in Indianapolis has already given him a glimpse into what rookie life will be like.

He’s getting acclimated to a new locker room, new teammates and a new playbook, all while contending with the seemingly impossible job of replacing one of the city’s biggest sports icons, Peyton Manning.

Welcome to Indy, kid.

The kickoff officially came Saturday night, when Luck’s second day of rookie workouts at the Colts complex was upstaged by Manning’s return to Indianapolis.

It’s not the first time Manning has returned to the city he called home for 14 seasons, but it’s the first time he’s been back since the Colts started holding offseason workouts, and it’s a stark reminder of the pressure the No. 1 overall draft pick will face in 2012.

“He’s a great player, a great kid and he’ll fit in perfectly,” Manning said of his successor. “I reach out to most of the rookie quarterbacks because so many of them have been to our camp at the Manning Passing Academy, so I’ve always kind of kept up with them. Andrew attended our camp and that’s what I think is really the reason he was the first pick, because of all the great coaching he got down there.”

Manning was in a playful mood before serving as the master of ceremonies for a fundraiser for the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent.

While he joked with reporters about everything from his new digs in Denver to how the NFL’s new offseason rules benefit teams such as the Colts that have new coaches, Manning took a serious tone when it came to the hospital that bears his name and the people that would be recognized during the celebration.

In the previous four years, the gala raised $3.4 million, and this year could be the best yet

The list of items on this year’s auction block included a collage of autographed baseballs from Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams; two guitars, one signed by Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, the other by the Rolling Stones; a clipping from a contract signed by Marilyn Monroe; an autograph of Mother Teresa; a signed Johnny Unitas jersey and an autographed photo of five American presidents — George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon.

And Manning intends to stick around and keep doing this kind of work in Indy.

“Peyton is no longer a Colt, but he’s been on our team since 1998 and he will continue to be on our team,” said Vincent Caponi, CEO of St.Vincent Health.


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