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Jerraud Powers learned early in career how Peyton Manning was dedicated, intense

TEMPE, Ariz. -- One of the first times Jerraud Powers met Peyton Manning was in the Indianapolis Colts' locker room, shortly after the cornerback was drafted in 2009.

Manning, then in his 11th season, approached Powers, who has spent the past three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He told Powers if he needed anything, just call; he gave the rookie his number. Then he started talking about Powers' career at Auburn University, reciting his stats and talking about specific games.

"He knew everything I've done at Auburn," Powers told ESPN.

Especially when it had to do with games against Manning's beloved Tennessee Volunteers.

When Powers started paying attention to the NFL in high school, he heard about Manning's photographic memory. But that day seven years ago, when Manning, who announced his retirement Monday, began talking about plays Powers made against Tennessee, the former Auburn cornerback was stunned.

"It kind of made me feel big time almost, like, 'Damn, Peyton Manning's been watching me,'" Powers said. "So, it was cool.

"It was just stuff like that that made the locker room feel like it was more of a place at home and (made it) an easy transition for me."

During organized team activities leading up to his rookie season, Powers was given a first-hand look at how detailed and intense Manning's preparation was.

He intercepted Manning twice one practice, and before Powers could leave the field, he was cut off by the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

"He was meeting me and asking me how did I know this route was coming or what did he do to tip me off -- just trying to find whatever competitive advantage he can have," Powers said. "This was during OTAs, so every time we took the field, it was like we're getting ready to play the Super Bowl.

"He had that championship-level work ethic every time we took the field or every time we were in a meeting. It kind of opened my eyes to what it takes and how to be a professional in the league."

The more Powers was around Manning, the more he learned, even though the two played on opposite sides of the ball.

While the Colts prepared for a 2009 game against the New England Patriots, which they came from 17 points down to win 35-34, Manning pulled out a notebook full of Patriots' notes from either 2004 or 2005, Powers remembered. The rookie asked Manning why he was looking at such old notes.

To which Manning responded that the Patriots were running similar schemes and players, and "I just want to see how we attacked them," Manning told Powers.

Powers was marveled.

"It was stuff like that that I was just like, 'I got to update my prep,'" Powers said. "At the time, I thought I was doing enough preparation but that just made me realize I'm not doing half as much as he's doing to get ready for a game."

When Powers was drafted by the Colts, he knew Manning's nickname was "The Sheriff" but he was tentative to use the moniker. Until he saw Austin Collie panic.

Collie had suffered an injury that required him to wear a dark visor on his helmet. Powers remembered Collie as someone who wanted to make sure he looked his best on the field -- or "swagged out" as Powers put it. But when Collie was told to wear the visor, he didn't know what to do.

"He was terrified to wear the visor because he thought if he dropped the pass, Peyton was going to go off on him," Powers said.

"I was like, 'He's really the sheriff around here.' People are scared to wear a visor because they don't want Peyton to go off on him if he drops the ball."