- Jeff Legwold, ESPN Staff Writer
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- He certainly has the Million Dollar Arm.
Actually Peyton Manning's right arm and the NFL’s Beautiful Mind have made him hundreds of millions of dollars in endorsements and his football salary through the years, and Wednesday the Denver Broncos quarterback announced how he has used that arm to pass around $1 million to community organizations in Colorado, Louisiana, Indiana and Tennessee.
It was the largest such distribution of funds for Manning, by way of his Peyback Foundation, and brought the total to $5.6 million overall since he started the foundation in 1999.
This year the foundation’s grants will be distributed to 153 youth based organizations in Colorado, Tennessee, Louisiana and Indiana, chosen from 604 applications -- 81 youth-related charities throughout Colorado will receive $630,000, 32 Tennessee organizations will receive $175,000, 23 Louisiana organizations will receive $120,000 and 17 Indiana organizations will receive $75,000.
“Everything that comes in goes right back out,’’ Manning said Wednesday. “We had a fundraiser here in Colorado last summer and all the money that we raised that’s coming in, it’s just a filter. It’s going right back out. We’re trying to find the youth organizations that need it the most. There are a lot of kids in Colorado, more than we could touch in a lifetime. But the goal is to try, to try to make the impact and provide these funds to programs that are helping these kids, who aren’t having the easiest of lives, and providing leadership and growth opportunities to these programs that are helping these children. We’re proud of the number and obviously we’ll keep trying to help and keep trying to raise money, give money.’’
Manning, now in his third season with the Broncos, said he felt ready to address more organizations in Colorado.
“I didn’t do as much my first year, especially as you’re kind of getting comfortable, and certainly had a ton of uncertainty with my injury and rehab,’’ Manning said. “So it’s nice to get back into more of a normal routine of the way that I’ve played quarterback and done things in the offseason as I used to do in years' past when I was healthy under normal circumstances. So we’re really proud.’’
It’s all part of what has been a whirlwind offseason for Manning thus far, which has included an appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman," a spot in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament, delivering the keynote address to the annual Boy Scouts breakfast in Denver and a turn as the commencement speaker at the University of Virginia.
“Obviously, I think staying active, I think that’s what I try to do, I don’t really enjoy just sitting around doing nothing,’’ Manning said. “... David Letterman’s retiring so I enjoyed getting to see him. I've been on his show a couple times and he’s an old Indianapolis guy. I enjoyed that. Went to the Yankee game, saw Derek Jeter, who’s retiring. All these guys are retiring. Anytime you get a chance to do something like that. Speaking at graduation, [wife] Ashley went to Virginia, and I enjoyed being around young people. That’s where the future is and anytime you have a chance to spend time with them ... I think the reason I was picked to speak at UVa’s graduation, the students picked because they said I’d been their top choice in fantasy football for four years. So that was the criteria.’’