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The Manning You Never Knew is a Pretty Cool Dude

book of manning

ESPN’s 30 for 30 Tuesday Night features (OK technically last night was an SEC Storied program) not only do a great job filling in for a boring Tuesday night of sports, they also provide an inside look into the lives of sports figures we witness everyday. Last night The Book of Manning took us through the Manning family photo album, revealing details on the first family of football that many had never seen or heard before. Watching Peyton whine and cry as a child during backyard football games was TV gold.

Learning the Legend of Archie at Ole Miss was a new story to me, but what story is probably the most shocking to all is the story of Archie’s eldest son Cooper. Committed to play WR for Ole Miss, Cooper was the first to re-usher in a new era of Ole Miss Manning football greatness. That all changed when Cooper was diagnosed with spinal stenosis entering his freshman season of college football, ending any hopes of ever suiting up again. “One hit away from being paralyzed”, Cooper went through surgeries to aid the narrowing spinal column. The physical trauma of re-learning how to walk was just part of the difficult life-changing emotional process.

Cooper persevered, not letting the unfortunate outcome determine his life’s journey. Remembering his difficult late teens, Cooper still reaches out to guys that have been put in the same situation he was in not long ago. One of those guys is my roommate Michael Weeks. The former Scott County WR had his aspirations to play college football cut short when he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. Shortly after his diagnosis, Weeks received this letter in the mail.

cooper manning


The Manning’s aren’t just great Quarterbacks, they’re great people.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

2 Comments for The Manning You Never Knew is a Pretty Cool Dude

  1. O'Neal Weeks
    12:32 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    I agree– it was a well-done story about a remarkable sports family! And Cooper is the “unsung hero” of the Manning family who scores high marks with me for the way he handled his own disappointment and for how reaches out to others– like Michael (who, by the way, is my grandson, and I witnessed how much his letter meant to Michael in dealing with similar disappointment!) Thanks for sharing.
    -O’Neal (aka “Pops”)

  2. Open week
    1:35 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Great post from Nick R! I have always liked the Manning’s for their integrity, especially after Peyton and Eli became pros and continued to just be themselves. I did know they had a brother, but didn’t know his story. Thanks for sharing this and especially the note he sent to Michael. It inspired me at age 61 to think there are still young men willing to help others and unafraid to put God in the mix!