It wasn’t long ago Eli Manning was running around as a camper at his family’s passing academy in Louisiana. Or, actually, it was.
It just doesn’t seem that way.
Before the two-time Super Bowl MVP embarks on his 10th NFL season, the Giants’ quarterback co-hosted the annual Manning Passing Academy, held this past weekend at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. Owned and operated by the patriarch, Archie, and the three sons, Cooper, Peyton and Eli, the camp began 18 years ago and has settled at that location for the last eight summers.
“I enjoyed coming and getting taught by different players,” he told The Times-Picayune. “We had some college and NFL players, a lot of high school and college coaches getting taught different drills by them and running around. So those were fun times, and I still love coming here because I remember what it was like to be that kid, hungry to learn more football, trying to get better at the drills and better at throwing. So I try to work with them and make sure they’re having a great time.”
Now a main attraction, Eli again carried on the Manning family tradition at the camp this year by welcoming 1,200 quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends. A variety of college and professional players and coaches served as counselors, including Alabama’s A.J. McCarron and Heisman Trophy-winner Johnny Manziel.
“It was pretty cool,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who was in Louisiana covering the academy. “They’ve got about 35-40 quarterbacks that come in as counselors. They coach the kids during the day, and then the first and the last day of camp, they put on a little show where they do a passing tree with Peyton and Eli. And I’ve got to tell you something, Peyton and Eli, they don’t just lend their name to a camp. These guys are coaching kids all day long in the heat of Louisiana. It’s awesome what the Manning family does.”
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