Peyton Manning offered a warm tribute Saturday to longtime Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, who died this week at age 75 after battling Alzheimer's disease.
Manning said his respect for Bowlen had "a lot to do" with him joining the Broncos in 2012 after spending his first 13 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. Manning won a Super Bowl championship with the Broncos in following the 2015 season, which marked his final one in the league.
The Broncos and Bowlen's family announced that they would host a public tribute for the late owner on Tuesday at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The tribute will include personal memorabilia along with pictures and a video celebrating his life and contributions, according to the team.
"My deepest sympathies go out to the entire Bowlen family," Manning said. "I met Mr. Bowlen for the first time when I played for the Indianapolis Colts and I was over in Hawaii at the Pro Bowl when he was also there at his Hawaiian home. I saw him several times throughout the years and had short, brief conversations with him that I really enjoyed. ...
"It was an honor to play for Mr. Bowlen's organization, as I've said numerous times. I always had great respect for the Denver Broncos during my time playing for the Colts competing against his organization. So much of that credit goes to Pat Bowlen and his desire to be the best and to win. That had a lot to do with me signing with the Denver Broncos -- that I knew Mr. Bowlen was all about winning and I knew the people that he had hired would carry on that tradition and legacy. It was a great decision to come play here -- we still live here today. I'm grateful for Mr. Bowlen and the legacy that he's established with the Broncos, in the NFL and certainly in this Denver community. He will be missed by many. It was an honor to know Mr. Bowlen and a real pleasure to have played for his team -- the Denver Broncos."