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Peyton Manning gives rookie class some advice about preparation

And rookie center Lloyd Cushenberry III heard it loud and clear.

Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

Peyton Manning made a surprise appearance on the Broncos’ rookie zoom meeting on Thursday, and you could probably guess what his overall message was to the new class.

Be prepared.

“You’ve got to work even harder than that now. I see too many players stop doing that because they think they’ve really done something because they got to this point,” he says in a video clip on Broncos TV.

And rookie center, Lloyd Cushenberry III, the former LSU Tiger who grew up watching Manning, took some good notes from the interaction.

“It was crazy...that’s a guy you always look up to and just watch every Sunday,” Cushenberry said, adding it was great to hear how Manning prepared every week. “He stressed practice a lot. It was very important for him to know exactly what he had to do.”

In fact, he told the crew, it was also important for him to know what everyone else had to do so that come game day, everything was just a process.

“A note I took down - he treated practice like a game, from walk through to team period,” Cushenberry said. “He knew not only what he had to do but what everyone, from the equipment manager to the right tackle, he knew exactly what everyone had to do. He took pride in that, and he tried to practice that game speed so on Sunday it was nothing. Just go out and play and rely on preparation.”

Sounds like the Peyton Manning we all know and love ... and miss.

But the good news is that Manning’s legacy of stressing hard work over raw talent is being stressed to another generation of players.

Cushenberry got the message.

“It was huge. Another thing he touched on, was just finding a routine,” Cushenberry said, adding that Manning pointed out it takes a while to find a good one, stick to it. “He said in college you kind of just wing it, get up whenever you want, because you’re so young, As the years go by, you’ve got to find a routine - come in early, get treatment, watch film and prepare for the day. That’s one thing I’m really going to focus on - find a good routine and stick to it.”

Cushenberry even asked the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback a question, and he picked a great one - “of all the great centers he has played with, what stood out and separated them?”

Manning, who played with Jeff Saturday for years at the Colts and Matt Paradis during the Super Bowl year at the Broncos, told Cushenberry that all the good ones were tough, dependable and smart.

But he also gave the rookie center some great advice about becoming one of those kinds of centers:

“He said, just come in and try to learn what the quarterback sees so you can be on the same page,” Cushenberry said.

That also sounds like the Peyton Manning we know and love.

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