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3rd grader banned from wearing Manning jersey gets gift from Manning

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Konnor Vanatta has big dreams of being an NFL quarterback just like his favorite: number 18, Peyton Manning. But as we reported last month, Konnor can’t wear his Broncos jersey to school.

“He told me I couldn’t wear 18 anymore because it’s a gang number and I had to take it off,” Konnor said.

The story got nationwide attention. Nike even sent 1,000 “Peyton Knows” t-shirts to Northridge High School to offset the controversy. And it turns out, even Peyton Manning heard about Konnor’s dilemma.

“After Peyton Manning saw the story aired they contacted me to see if I would send a jersey in for Peyton Manning to sign for Konnor,” said Pam Vanatta, Konnor’s mother.

This jersey arrived Thursday signed “To Konnor, best wishes, Peyton Manning.”

“I just thought it was really cool that he actually signed it,” said Konnor.

“I think it’s awesome,” Pam said. “Konnor was very excited about it. I thought it was great that he did something that Konnor will remember for the rest of his life and get to hold on to.”

Now Konnor has a piece of real life inspiration to keep working toward his goal of perhaps one day wearing the number 18 himself.

“I already play football,” he said. “I’m going to start playing really hard so I can work up to it.”

The Weld County school district still hasn’t changed its policy on the number 18 jerseys, so Konnor will be framing his new jersey to hang on his wall.