NFL star Peyton Manning, in Boise, talks golf, football and even a little Boise State

July 15, 2014 

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning likes to run an up-tempo offense. Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady trained for a half marathon this offseason to try to keep up. The former Boise State lineman finished one, even if he had to walk some of it. “It’s a mental thing because once you get out of breath, it’s just a lot more thinking and you’ve got to hone in and focus,” Clady said of the fast pace. “It’s pretty tough.”

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What better way to celebrate the 25th year of the Albertsons Boise Open - and the grocer's new naming rights deal for Boise State's football stadium - than to bring the best Bronco of them all to town for the celebration?

That's how tournament promoter Jeff Sanders introduced five-time National Football League MVP and current Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to a standing ovation at the golf tournament's kickoff dinner Monday night at the Boise Center.

Here are some highlights from Manning's on stage Q&A with Sanders:

On Golf: Manning, who boasts a 5 handicap, said his favorite foursome is playing with his dad and two brothers. "I always said you can't be a great golfer and a great quarterback. I'm a better quarterback than I am a golfer."

Coming back from his career-threatening neck injury: “I wanted to at least try, but I didn’t want to sign with a new team unless I could be the player they thought they were getting.”

On work ethic: “I believe you have to have a work ethic on anything you do if you want to achieve. I try to be a better player each year than I was the year before.

“It’s hard not to get excited about a game on a Sunday with 80,000 fans cheering for you. … But you have to ask yourself, how bad are you willing to work out in April or in the heat of July?”

His transition to a new team in Denver: “You’ve got to earn the respect of the people you’re leading.”

On team chemistry: Manning, who’s 38, joked about playing with NFL rookies who are 21 and 22 years old. He talked about a conversation he had with one of the Broncos’ recently drafted wide receivers, who told Manning he was just 4 when Peyton was a senior at the University of Tennessee. “Just a little warning, I’m not sure if I’d draft this kid on your fantasy team this year. Not sure how many passes he’s going to get.”

Memorable defenders: “The one guy who’s hit me the hardest is a guy named Ray Lewis.”

On life after football: “I’m in the homestretch. I’m almost out of eligibility to play. I feel lucky to still be playing in my 17th year. I think I’ll stop playing whenever I don’t enjoy the work process and can’t help the team.”

On Boise: "I can tell Boise is a special community. My left tackle (Ryan Clady) is a Boise State alum. I take Ryan out to eat every Friday night. He's well fed and happy. He's a good friend and a great player."

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