KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Peyton Manning announced his retirement from the NFL Monday, but before was a Bronco or a Colt, he was a Tennessee Vol.
Believe it or not, there was a time before Manning was passing inside Neyland Stadium. Head equipment manager Roger Frazier can remember the day Manning visited campus.
“Very inquisitive, but the thing I’ll always remember is just how genuine he was and Archie his dad,” said Frazier.Related story:Peyton Manning’s career and legacy
During his time at UT, Frazier remembers manning as meticulous, supportive and respectful. Frazier remembered why he couldn’t wear the number 18 – it was an upperclassman’s number at the time.
“I kind of offered him some choices and he picked 16. I don’t think he really cared at the time. His first choice was 18 obviously because he wanted to wear the number Archie had worn,” he said.
Frazier has memories on and off the field.
“I have two sons and they were younger when he was here. It was pretty neat to watch him. I remember he read to their class in the second grade and they got to introduce him,” he said.Related story: Peyton Manning announces retirement from NFL
Frazier is still close to Manning. After all, he was the one outfitting him for years. Frazier says the helmet was always the trickiest.
“I used a hat stretcher to compress the front pad and we would do that throughout the year to make sure his helmet fit correct. And that was a funny story when he went to the Colts, I told John Scott, my counterpart for the Colts, good luck.”
Frazier says it’s been a joy watching Manning’s popularity grow and while number 16 is retired at UT, he’s trilled the Vol for Life is retiring at the top of his league.
“He’s going to have a lot of options and whatever he does, he’s going to be the best at it. He’s just that driven,” he said.