NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Peyton Manning didn’t have a whole lot of people believing in him after he underwent multiple neck surgeries and missed the entire 2011 season.
Not even his own brother, Eli Manning of the New York Giants, thought he would recover enough to get back on the field.
“Yeah, and I saw him after that first surgery, this neck surgery, and I was pretty much convinced that he was done,” Eli Manning told the NFL Network on Wednesday. “There was no way he could come back and play football.”
Eli said at one point he threw the football around with Peyton, who could only muster “a lob.”
“He couldn’t throw 15 yards on a line,” Eli said. “It had no pop. I was like, I mean — he wanted to come back and play football, and I didn’t think it would happen.”
But it did happen.
Peyton Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts in March 2012 and signed with Denver later that same month. He followed up an exceptional season with something for the history books, setting NFL single-season records for touchdowns and passing yards in 2013.
And now he’s on the verge of his second title. The Broncos will face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, the home stadium of little brother Eli.
“Sure enough, he’s been able to do it, and even this year, he’s been stronger, his arm strength’s been stronger, and he’s been better than ever,” said Eli, who has two rings with the Giants. “So it’s been an amazing journey for him and what he’s overcome and for me to watch him to go through it, and the dedication to work has been inspiring.”
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