Sports Illustrated names Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning Sportsman of the Year

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos didn't play on Sunday, but that doesn't mean quarterback Peyton Manning took a break from wrting his name in the record books.

In the midst of a season that could earn him his fifth NFL MVP Award, Manning was named Sports Illustrated's 2013 Sportsman of the Year, the magazine announced Sunday.

Monday night, he was honored at a private function at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Manning on the award
“It’s really hard to describe in words. When I saw the former list of winners—Roger Bannister being the first winner, Arnold Palmer certainly jumped out. I never thought I’d win the same award as Stan ‘The Man’ Musial and not to mention the great list of football players—Billy Jean King. It’s really special that just a couple years ago my good friend, Coach Pat Summitt, won it so good to have some University of Tennessee blood. It’s a tremendous honor. I’m not sure I deserve it and am worthy of it but I gratefully accept this special honor is what I will always treasure and cherish.”

On what the award means in the sports world
“It means a great deal and for one, I really accept this award on behalf of a lot of people that have helped me. I realized that being injured and coming back from an injury and playing is probably a large reason why I received this award. It’s just a great way to show how grateful I am for all the people that have helped me and supported me: my family, teammates and coaches on many different levels—college coaches, pro coaches and teammates, and so I really accept that on behalf of them. I do feel that my comeback has inspired some people. I’ve received letters saying that. It’s good to know that those people are working harder and doing better because maybe I’ve given them some hope.”

On what it means to have his parents and many former teammates here Monday night
“Very special. [Head] Coach [John] Fox recognized me today at practice and I just wanted to take a few minutes and I stepped and just thanked all of them for really welcoming me two years ago to Denver and helping make my transition as smooth as possible. I’ll always be indebted to my teammates, to our coaches, the support staff—trainers [and] equipment guys here in Denver. These past two years have been life changing for me and the folks here in Denver and the Denver Broncos sure have helped my transition be smooth and I’ll always be grateful and appreciative of that and I thank them for that today.”

Decision to name Manning Sportsman of the Year

"To some degree, we're taking a measure of Peyton's entire career, dating back all the way to college," SI managing editor Chris Stone told the official Broncos website. "He's had three stops since college -- Knoxville, Indianapolis and Denver. What really strikes you beyond that consistently excellent performance is the way he's connected with all three of those communities in a really profound way."

The award is also based on the 14 seasons Manning spent with the Indianapolis Colts, SI said. After missing the entire 2011 season following his infamous neck surgery, Manning was released by Indy but returned to lead the Broncos into the playoffs last year.

So far, it looks like this year's run might be even better.

Manning’s 47 touchdown passes during the Broncos’ 11-3 start this year puts him four TDs away from breaking Tom Brady’s record for most touchdowns thrown in a season. Manning is just one of eight professional football players to land SI's Sportsman award.

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