Duke coach David Cutcliffe took a brief break from Blue Devils preseason camp to travel to Canton, Ohio for the Hall of Fame induction of his former player, Peyton Manning.
Cutcliffe was Tennessee’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when Manning played there in college. He went on to coach Manning’s brother Eli as head coach at Ole Miss a few years later.
“I sat right in front of Eli,” Cutcliffe said of his trip to Canton. “We obviously talked and joked and had fun.”
“I was very appreciative to be able to be there,” he said. “I told the players thank you for giving me the night off. We didn’t have a walk-through on Sunday night. They went to dinner, while my wife and I went up there. It was awesome to see.”
Cutcliffe was glad to be there to see Manning’s acceptance speech in person.
“Peyton, I think, made football proud,” he said. “The best part for me was to watch all those other hall of famers, off camera, and their reactions to him. They know the sincerity he has and the love he has for the game.”
Cutcliffe had a quick visit with the entire family.
“I loved seeing Eli and Peyton and all those children that I’m close to,” he said. “They were so proud. I’m sure that was an emotional and proud moment for (parents) Archie and Olivia. I got to visit with them, albeit briefly, afterward. I had to get back, because I had morning practice.”
“Peyton was (saying), ‘Aw, stay a little longer,’” he added. I said, ‘If you were in camp, you’d have already been gone!’”