<
>

Peyton Manning reemerges at Saints camp -- as a spectator

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Less than six months into his retirement, Peyton Manning emerged at a NFL camp Sunday, dropping by the New Orleans Saints ’ practice at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

Manning, who was at the resort for a speaking engagement, was nattily dressed in a shirt, tie and slacks and never grabbed a football -- though he did spend time chatting with fellow QB Drew Brees, coach Sean Payton and several other players and coaches.

“Seeing Peyton out here and seeing Drew out on the same field, it was kind of mind-boggling to see that much awesomeness at quarterback,” Saints tight end Coby Fleener said.

Manning, the son of former Saints great Archie Manning, passed on the chance to address the media afterward -- one of the perks of his new lifestyle.

Payton said Manning didn’t formally address the team, but Manning had reached out to him a few weeks ago via text when he realized he would be in town during Saints camp. Manning was speaking at the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Leadership Forum.

“It was good having him out here,” Payton said. “You know, he had a chance just to be around our guys. And someone with the success he’s had, it was good seeing him.

“One of his great traits is he likes being around players and this type of teaching atmosphere, environment. Again, it was limited time because his commitments were across the street. But I’m sure it was a good break for him, and it was for us.”

Saints safety Roman Harper said he gave Manning a hug and told him congratulations after Manning went out on top with a Super Bowl victory for the Denver Broncos.

But Harper, who played for the runner-up Carolina Panthers last season, said, “I’m still angry, because the last time I saw him, confetti was going all his way.”

“But he said we were even and we laughed about it, we joked,” Harper said, referring to the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV victory over Manning when he was with the Indianapolis Colts. “But you’ve got to understand and respect this guy, all the great things he’s done, the way he has changed and molded this game, the way he’s been able to compete for such a long level and be so successful, you envy him.”