Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is looking forward to the rematch with his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, in the 2014 NFL season.
Michael Marot of The Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports) reports on April 26 Manning was in Indianapolis of a fundraiser at the Peyton Manning Chidren's hospital -- his first visit to the city since losing to the Colts in Oct. 2013:
"Peyton Manning still holds Indianapolis in a special place. Even if Denver is opening the season against his former team.
"Two days after Manning found out his rematch with the Colts would be the first Sunday night game of the NFL's season, the reigning MVP returned to town for a very different reason -- to help host an annual fundraiser for the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent.
"It's the first time Manning has been back since his emotional October homecoming ended with Denver's first loss of the season.
"Manning expects the Colts to be so good, in fact, that after taking a quick peek at the schedule Thursday, the record-breaking quarterback changed his plans and immediately returned to the weight room. His teammates soon followed."
Manning told the media the Broncos will be off to a challenging start with three playoff opponents to kick off their 2014 season. He made special mention of Indianapolis, which he expects to contend once again, per Marot.
"I had a pretty good feeling that game (Colts-Broncos) would be on TV. It's a tough schedule with three playoff teams (the Colts, Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks) right off the bat and we play the Colts right at the start.
"They're a good team, they were right there at the end and we know they'll be an excellent opponent."
More specifically, the fundraiser is the annual Celebration of Caring Gala at the FedEx Aircraft Hangar of the Indianapolis International Airport which features country singer Jake Owen, according to Dana Hunsinger Benbow of The Indianapolis Star.
Hunsinger Benbow describes the facilities of the hospital, the main beneficiary of the fundraiser.
"Peyton Manning's Children's Hospital has more than 300 pediatric specialists, 46 inpatient beds, 15 beds in the pediatric intensive care unit and 17 private rooms in the Hilbert Pediatric Emergency Department.
"Its specialties include emergency medicine, cancer and blood diseases, general surgery, cardiology, orthopedics, pulmonology, otolaryngology, rehabilitation and endocrinology."
The Celebration of Caring Gala has raised more than $5.1 million for the hospital since 2008, per The Indianapolis Star update.
In a separate development, Manning insists he didn't break the NFL's offseason rules when he met with Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach Nick Saban, notes USA TODAY's Lindsay H. Jones (via The Indianapolis Star).
Jones notes "NFL rules prohibit players and coaches from conducting football-related business before the official start of the offseason program. For the Broncos, that date was Monday (April 21)."
Manning told Jones he is aware of the rule and that he and Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase were there "on an independent project."
"That didn't happen. We know what the rules were. I was there on an independent project, and Adam was as well.
"There are different things I've done throughout my career in the offseason, that I've sought out someone to talk to or something to study, to make myself a better quarterback.
"I've thought you either get better or get worse, you don't stay the same.
"I know that's gotten a lot of attention, but that's something I've done throughout my career, so I certainly know the rules, but I know there is no rule that says a player can't get any better. At least I haven't read that one.
"That's what I was trying to do, and I believe that's important especially as you get older, to seek out some things that can make you a better player."
Jones, citing The Denver Post, says Saban confirms Manning and Gase met with him individually.