Legendary Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning recently appeared on a local Indy radio show to praise his former teammate Marvin Harrison and head coach Tony Dungy–both of whom are being enshrined into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday.
"Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) and former teammate Marvin Harrison on the field before Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi“The thing I always say about Marvin (Harrison) is as great as he was on Sundays, I’m telling you he was even better during the weeks of practice–and it was a joy to play with him,” said Peyton Manning on The Ride with JMV on 1070 The Fan. “It was absolutely an honor to practice with him and watch him practice. He always went full speed. He always went against the starting defensive back–refused to go against a scout team or rookie. He never came out. He never tapped the top of his helmet to take a break. Not in practice, not in a game. It was unbelievable. He could run all day long, as fast as anyone in the NFL.”“It always bothered me that he was in such great shape because he had like 2% body fat and ate nothing but junk food and candy, Philadelphia Tasty-cakes. We had this nutritionist who was telling us all what to eat, and I’m like, ‘How come Marvin doesn’t have to eat any of that? Marvin eats junk, and he’s chiseled and can run all day.” But that’s what made him so special, you can combine that kind of talent with that type of work ethic, and it just sent a message to the rest of the team.”"
"Feb 6, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; Tony Dungy looks on during a press conference to announce the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016 at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports“And then for Tony (Dungy), just to have a chance to play for him is one of the great honors of my life,” added Manning. “A unique, different style of leadership. Right what you saw on the sidelines was how he was all of the time. Even-keeled, calm, cool, and the 4th quarter of the AFC Championship game against the Patriots, he looked the same just like he did in the 1st quarter of a preseason game, and that was just a very calming effect on everybody.”“Lots of small quotations and philosophies he used to always say, ‘No excuses. No explanations, we’re looking for expectations and then execution.’ It was just little things. Take care of the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves. These are things that I still apply to everyday life, but I always wrote them down and he made a huge impact on me, so it’s going to be great.”“Hey as the captains, we used to say, ‘Hey, you don’t understand that the fact that he’s treating you like this–maybe that’s not totally normal.’ Honor him, and respect him, and go give him your absolute best effort and that’s what guys did. They didn’t want to let him down. They didn’t want to disappoint him. They wanted to make that great catch or game-saving tackle. Whatever it may be because we knew that Coach Dungy was treating us with such respect. He deserved our same respect and our very best effort. So as a result, everybody just played so hard. Played hard for him. That was the culture he created and that was a credit to him.”"
It goes without saying, but both Harrison and Dungy were a tremendous part of the Colts franchise’s recent success and modern history–highlighted by a Super Bowl XLI Championship in 2006.
While each was quiet and reserved in their own right, they were among the best individuals at their respective football professions on the field.
Clearly, when an all-time great quarterback such as Manning only has high praise to offer, that has to carry some significant weight as to who you were as a player, coach, or individual–whatever the case may be.