The Manning family line of genes in the NFL runs deep, with the patriarch, Archie Manning, laying the foundation for the future of his sons, Eli and Peyton.
It has long been said that the eldest Manning brother, Cooper, would be celebrating Super Bowl championships in the NFL along with his brothers had it not been for a medical diagnosis he received as a young adult. Now, strangely, rapper Lil Wayne corroborates that theory.
Wayne participated in a Q&A with Peter King on mmqb.com and provided an anecdote about the Manning family. Wayne said that a man who traveled on the road with his group and “was like an uncle” had previously been in prison and was put on work release. His job was to “clean the schoolyard of the [Isidore] Newman School” — where the Manning kids attended. As a prisoner, the man had to be at the school by 5 a.m. to clean up, and he routinely saw the Mannings outside working on their football game.
“There was not one morning, 4:30, 5 in the morning, he wouldn’t see Archie, Peyton, Cooper, or Eli out on the field. He’d see Archie throwing passes to Cooper, or Peyton throwing routes to Cooper,” Wayne said. “I don’t know if people know this, but it was Cooper who was the prodigy.”
Cooper was an all-state receiver in Louisiana and earned a football scholarship to the University of Mississippi — his father’s alma mater and Eli’s eventual school of choice. But before Cooper’s freshman year at Ole Miss, he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis — a narrowing of the spinal canal — and had to stop playing football or risk permanent damage.
Though what seemed like fate didn’t work out in Cooper’s favor, he’s still had a chance to live vicariously through his brothers’ successful NFL careers.
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