KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Peyton Manning is looking forward to the transition from football player to football fan.
The recently retired Denver Broncos quarterback was in Knoxville on Monday to play in his charity golf tournament and announce the winners of the University of Tennessee’s Peyton Manning Scholarships. Manning said he’s looking forward to watching games rather than playing in them this fall.
“I’m really excited about having a free fall (season) for the first time in 22 years,” Manning said.
The Tennessee alum said he will attend at least three of the Volunteers’ games this year. He already has made plans to go to the Volunteers’ Sept. 10 game with Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway as well as the Oct. 8 game at Texas A&M and the Oct. 15 home game with Alabama.
He also said he has “some Broncos games on the list” and that he plans to participate in the Indianapolis Colts’ 10-year reunion of their Super Bowl championship team. Manning also expects to watch some of his younger brother’s New York Giants regular-season games.
“I’m going to see my little brother play in some normal games as opposed to always seeing him play in a Super Bowl where you can’t breathe until the last play,” Manning said.
After meeting the winners of the scholarships that bear his name and participating in a golf tournament benefiting East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Manning planned to talk to Tennessee’s football team Monday afternoon.
Manning didn’t express any regrets about his decision to retire in March, one month after helping the Broncos win the Super Bowl.
“People have asked me during OTAs (offseason team activities) did I have withdrawals or what not,” Manning said. “I just have not felt that way. Of course, the fall they say is a whole different deal and I can’t tell you until we get there, but I really feel… all I will say is I did not get shorted in any way. I got a full plate of football and saw it from lots of different angles. I’m very much at peace with it. I’m actually kind of looking forward to this fall and having a little free time.”
Manning said he hasn’t had much time to relax since retiring. He recently received his Super Bowl ring and visited the White House with his former Broncos teammates.
“I feel like I’ve been a little busier maybe than I ever have been,” Manning said. “I no longer can say, ‘Hey, I can’t do that. I have practice that day.’ People know I’m available now, so I’m paying up on some 18-year commitments. But I really wanted to protect my fall to do some things I haven’t been able to do in 22 years.”
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