Rapper Lil Wayne spoke to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, and he relayed a great story about Peyton Manning's work ethic.
It comes from Wayne's roadie, an ex-con who cleaned at Manning's high school as part of a work-release program:
"I have a story about Peyton. A guy who has been on the road with us, he was like an uncle to us, he told us this story. When he was in jail, about to come home, he was put on one of those work-release things in New Orleans. Every morning, real early, he would clean the schoolyard of the [Isidore] Newman School [where the Manning kids attended]. Because he was a prisoner, he would have to clean the schoolyard at 4 or 5 in the morning. There was not one morning, 4:30, 5 in the morning, he wouldn’t see Archie, Peyton, Cooper, or Eli out on the field. He’d see Archie throwing passes to Cooper, or Peyton throwing routes to Cooper. I don’t know if people know this, but it was Cooper who was the prodigy. He [the roadie] would tell us the story, you know, like it was destined."
Manning is one of the hardest-working people in sports, and it has prolonged his career by several years. He has worked his way back from four neck surgeries in the last few years — re-teaching himself to throw a football in a year-long process that sounds incredibly difficult. You don't do that at age 36 unless you have a maniacal competitiveness.
Clearly, a lot of that comes from his father, who pushed him to put in extra work, and his brothers, who were willing to do that work with him.
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