Manning Will Start Season As Newlywed
Colts quarterback will marry his college girlfriend in ceremony today in Tennessee

By Rob Schneider and John Strauss
Indianapolis Star
March 17, 2001

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will be a week late to off-season training camp. He's getting married today in Memphis, Tenn.

Manning will tie the knot with Ashley Thompson, whom he began dating when he was a freshman at the University of Tennessee.

"We're excited; it's always an exciting time," said his father, Archie Manning. The couple got engaged last summer but didn't announce it. "Peyton didn't want it to be a story during football season, so they kind of keep it quiet."

There was to be a wedding rehearsal dinner Friday followed by the wedding tonight. "It's a pretty big wedding, probably 600 people or so," said Archie Manning, a former New Orleans Saints quarterback.

He declined to say where the couple would spend their honeymoon but said they would be back in Indianapolis in a week. He described his daughter-in-law as "a great gal from a wonderful family here in Memphis."

Team owner Jim Irsay, who was headed to the wedding, joked, "I guess now Peyton will get his soup opened, at least."

A magazine story once depicted Manning as domestically challenged, saying he had to call Thompson for directions on opening a can of soup.

Archie Manning noted his son was embarrassed by the article and since has improved.

In the book, Manning, A Father His Sons, And A Football Legacy, Peyton Manning writes that he didn't exactly knock Thompson off her feet during their first meeting.

"It was in August, at one of the few fraternity parties I went to. We were introduced and only talked a little while. I didn't make a big first impression (she said later my pastel shirt was a turnoff) but I was certainly impressed."

Manning added that, "With all her qualities, I think what pleased me most about Ashley, though, was that she liked me for who I was, not what I was."