Eli Manning: Peyton’s impact on Indy beyond football

The Manning family has circled the wagons and taken a stance on injured sibling Peyton Manning, saying only that the four-time NFL MVP is doing everything he can to return to football next season.

Younger brother Eli Manning was bombarded with questions about Peyton during Media Day on Tuesday, and his most notable take was that he hopes the comeback happens with the Colts.

So Colts fans have at least one Manning brother in their corner.  It’s a topic that Eli expanded on during an interview with NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner this week that will air on Sunday’s “NFL GameDay Morning” (9 a.m. ET) leading up to Super Bowl XLVI.

Eli Manning says his brother’s impact on the Colts — which has spanned 14 years — goes far beyond football.

“He’s just been so important to this town,” Manning told NFL Network. “When he came to Indianapolis, they were not known for their football. It was truly a basketball town, and I think he’s changed that image a little bit.

“It would be hard to imagine him playing somewhere else.”

It would, although it’s not unthinkable for a long-term professional athlete to leave a city. But as Eli suggests, Peyton is synonymous with Indianapolis and his impact — socially, even economically — was big enough to alter the perception of the city.

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