Roy Exum: Peyton: ‘Together We Will Win’

Saturday, April 13, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

It is pretty obvious that pro quarterback Peyton Manning lives life in a large way, having fun and helping many when he’s not at the helm of the Denver Broncos, so it was a pretty big thrill the other day when he slipped another University of Tennessee legend – Pat Summitt – a check for a half-million dollars. Peyton Manning – make no mistake – should be in the Human Being Hall of Fame.

Peyton and his wife Ashley gave the money to the Pat Summitt Foundation for its heart-warming efforts to eradicate early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. "I have such great respect and admiration for Coach Summitt as a mentor, coach and friend from my days as a Tennessee Volunteer and throughout my pro career,” Manning said.

“It’s not really my style to make (people) aware when you’re giving,” Peyton explained in candid fashion, “but I think giving does encourage more giving. We thought that it might be possible, in this case, for more people to understand this foundation, that it’s up and running and that Pat’s out in front of it.”

Manning added more than his signature to the check. On it he also wrote, “To Pat – Together we will win.” Coach Summitt smiled and told the All-Pro quarterback, “This is a special, special day and it belongs to all of you as well as us,” she said. “And obviously, Peyton, you’re the best.”

Manning said he hopes “my role as Honorary Co-Chair can bring attention to the important mission of defeating Alzheimer’s through research for a cure, support services for patients and caregivers, and building education and awareness.

"Both Ashley and I believe it’s imperative we make our own personal contribution to advance this critical work in addition to serving in a volunteer capacity with the foundation. We are hopeful others will follow Pat’s lead and come to the aid of the more than five and a half million Americans impacted by this disease."

He also had special praise for the legendary women’s basketball coach. “Pat’s got great toughness. That’s one of the things she’s always instilled in all of her players. You have to be tough, you have to have a great work ethic,” Manning said. “Obviously I never played for her, but I truly feel like we’re on the same team, on the Tennessee Volunteer team.

“She’s always supported me and I wanted to do what I could to support her,” he said.

* * *

Peyton, known for his love of practical jokes, just pulled a dandy on the Broncos wide receiver, Eric Decker. It seems that Decker joined Peyton and a couple of other players not long ago to spend several days working out at Duke University’s practice facility, where Peyton still has a deep friendship with head coach David Cutcliffe.

So Peyton got Cutcliffe to fix up a very official-looking “bill for services” that he then hand-delivered to Decker. The invoice, dated April 10, included a $2,500 line charge for “on field instruction from Duke football staff,” $200 for taping and attention from Duke trainers, a laundry service fee of  $100, and anything else they could make up. The last line read, “Airport shuttle … FREE!”

The total bill was for $3,217.50. Of course, Decker thought the workouts were voluntary and his eyes bulged when he was handed the bill before Peyton – laughing with glee -- quickly assured him it was just a joke. Even then, it was a little while before he could laugh about it. Oh, and if you’ll study copies of the phony statement on the Internet, the figures add up incorrectly. So much for a Duke education.

* * *

Army Lt. Col. John C. Faith will be buried with highest honors in Arlington Cemetery next week, this after his remains were just recently located in Korea and identified by DNA samples taken from his brother. Col. Faith was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously after being hit by shrapnel on Dec. 1, 1950, and dying the next day.

Col.  Faith had assumed command of his troops after another supervisor went missing on the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea and fought bravely, personally leading his men on a mission where they assaulted a position being held by the Chinese People’s Voluntary Forces. A native of Indiana, Col. Faith's only daughter will attend the ceremonies with her husband and children.

“What’s so amazing is that our country doesn’t give up,” Barbara “Bobbie” Broyles, Faith’s only child, told on Wednesday. “They keep looking for the missing and the prisoners of war and people who are unaccounted for in battles.”

Almost 8,000 Americans who died in Korea have never been found.

* * *

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will come to Scottsboro next Friday to hold a ceremonial signed of State Senate Bill 97, which will allow a posthumous pardon for the famous “Scottsboro Boys,” nine black kids who were accused of raping two white women on a train in 1931. All nine were found guilty, only one escaping the death penalty.

One of the victims later recanted her testimony and the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions a year later. One, Haywood Patterson, was tried again in 1933 and the jury found him guilty but Judge James Horton could find no evidence to support rape charges and overturned the  finding.

In 1976 Gov. George Wallace pardoned the last Scottsboro Boy thought to be alive – Clarence Norris – but Gov. Bentley will now pardon the other eight, closing the ugly chapter from the past for good.

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