KNOXVILLE – Add another honor to the illustrious career of former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning.
The current Denver Broncos QB was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year for 2013 on Sunday night, joining an elite group of recent winners including LeBron James (2012), Pat Summitt and Mike Krzyzewski (co-winners, 2011), Drew Brees (2010), Derek Jeter (2009) and Michael Phelps (2008).
Manning played for UT from 1994-97, throwing for over 11,000 yards and 90 total touchdowns while completing 63 percent of his career passes. He led UT to an SEC title in 1997 and won 39 of his 45 career starts with the Vols.
The four-time NFL MVP is enjoying a career renaissance in Denver after missing the 2011 season due to a neck injury that required spinal fusion surgery.
The 16-year veteran has thrown for 4,811 yards, 47 touchdown and just 10 interceptions this season while leading the Broncos to an 11-3 mark this year.
"At first, when I knew we were considering Manning, I thought: good choice. Lifetime-achievement-award choice," said SI writer Peter King. "But if you isolate this year, you're looking at a player two years removed from four neck procedures that would have prompted many 35-year-old legends to choose retirement. He has his Super Bowl. He has his MVPs. Now he's on the verge of breaking the most important single-season quarterback records (touchdown passes and passing yards) in the 94-year history of the game.
“He threw seven touchdown passes against the defending Super Bowl champs. And he's got his team set to win the top seed in the AFC. Who plays his best – wounded, with so many great young guns chasing him – at 37?"
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga
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