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Peter King spoke with Lil Wayne for this week’s edition of Monday Morning Quarterback, and the rapper shared an interesting story he heard about the Manning brothers in their younger years. Most people assume Peyton was always the most talented Manning brother because of the way things have turned out, but that is revisionist history. Cooper Manning could have joined his younger brothers Peyton and Eli in the NFL, but a rare medical condition ended his playing days and forced the eldest son of Archie Manning to find another path to success.
Long before Peyton was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and Eli was beating Tom Brady for two Super Bowl rings, their older brother Cooper was excelling on the football field.
Today Cooper has found a different path than his brothers, working for the energy firm Howard Weil as an energy broker.
Cooper Manning stole a bit of the spotlight from his famous brothers earlier this year when ESPN aired the documentary The Book of Manning. Archie was originally supposed to take a lead role in the documentary, but after he changed his mind Cooper Manning decided to step in.
Cooper said though his own NFL dreams came to an end, he still revels in watching his brothers play every week.
Cooper Manning, Peyton and Eli's older brother, was once a promising high school football prospect that had his career derailed by a spinal condition.
Below is a look at Cooper as The DP Show's "Manning On The Street." And if we learn anything, it is that he is just as charming as Peyton and with better jokes.
Peyton and Eli have an older brother named Cooper, who was a standout wide receiver in high school and had planned to follow in his father Archie’s footsteps by playing college ball at Ole Miss.
I can even remember when Eli was at Ole Miss and there was buzz about him being better than Peyton. As a top high school prospect, many believed Cooper Manning had a path to the NFL, but a rare spinal injury ended his dreams.
Though he may not be as well-known as his brothers and has never starred in a commercial, Cooper has still managed to rise to the top of his field. The program focused on how former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning shaped his sons into football stars who have won a combined three Super Bowl rings and made 15 Pro Bowl appearances. At age 18 he was one of the most sought-after high school football players, a 6-foot-4 wide receiver who had just committed to Ole Miss. When he was in jail, about to come home, he was put on one of those work-release things in New Orleans. Every morning, real early, he would clean the schoolyard of the (Isidore) Newman School (where the Manning kids attended).
As much as people have followed the hype of this game, they've been easily seduced by speculation about what the Colts will do with a Pro Bowl-caliber player who missed the entire season.It seemed likely that Eli's game in his brother's backyard would lead to some predictable storylines. Peyton always has been the biggest star of the Manning brothers -- including oldest brother, Cooper, a star high school receiver in his own right.


We just don't know much else beyond that, largely because he doesn't allow others to see him as easily as Peyton does.It's not a knock on Eli.
But digging deeper into his life reveals some qualities that have gone unnoticed in a city that scrutinizes its celebrities like no other. Now here are 10 things you didn't know about Eli:HE HAS A GIFT FOR KARAOKEThere was a time when Peyton was known to show up in Nashville nightclubs to sing a number or two onstage with notable country music stars. Manning is low-key when he's standing in front of a podium at a news conference, but when he's holding a microphone and the music starts blaring from a computerized sound machine, he's an entirely different animal.The man also apparently has no limits to his versatility. One night he found himself doing a surprisingly impressive rendition of a Johnny Cash song, a performance that was even more eye-opening because -- as with other tunes -- Eli didn't need to follow the words on the video screen. But the thing that is really wild about Eli is that he's actually a good singer."HE'S ALWAYS MADE THOSE AROUND HIM BETTERFormer Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi once told a story about scouting Manning during Manning's senior season at Ole Miss. What Accorsi remembered most about the Rebels' 24-20 win at Auburn that day wasn't Manning's overall numbers, although he threw for 218 yards and two touchdowns. This season, Manning's presence has certainly helped the development of Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. To hear Cruz tell it, he learned plenty from Manning in offseason workouts the quarterback organized during the lockout, and he's gleaned just as much during Manning's receivers meetings at the end of every practice week. What was less documented before this week is how nervous the Giants had been about making the deal that brought him to New York. The Chargers eventually drafted Manning and dealt him to the Giants in exchange for quarterback Philip Rivers and two draft picks. Our backup plan was Ben Roethlisberger, so either way we felt like we were in good shape, but we had our hearts set on Eli at the time."When that deal was sealed, Archie Manning spoke briefly with Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow, whose own son, Kellen Winslow, was the sixth overall pick in that year's draft.
Manning became involved in the event because of his relationship with Patrick Browne Jr., a longtime family friend. Browne lost his sight nearly 50 years ago, so he plays without the benefit of sight.Browne remains a proficient golfer -- he has won the Guiding Eyes tournament 21 times -- despite the loss of his vision. Manning, even as a young man, admired Browne as an athlete and did not view him as limited. When Manning has hosted the golf tournament, he has played with a blindfold and used the same golf coaches as Browne and his fellow blind players. During his time with the tournament, Manning also has helped raise awareness for the organization.The tournament enjoyed its biggest audience in 2007, when Manning succeeded Ken Venturi as the host. He's been in the NFL and New York long enough to remember some of the less flattering comments. It wasn't that long ago that many critics questioned whether Manning was tough enough and talented enough to succeed in such a hard-edged city.
When a prominent NFL reporter approached Manning after that game and congratulated him, the writer also mentioned that Manning had taken ample criticism.


Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper coached him at Ole Miss and swears Manning could see things that few quarterbacks that age could comprehend."He has functional intelligence," Roper said.
Coaches like to get into the habit of running tape over and over so players understand what you're trying to do. He's what you call a fast-twitch thinker."As proof, Roper points to Manning's final college game, a 31-28 win over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. Roper let Manning run what is known as "freeze" plays, meaning Manning had the opportunity to call whatever he wanted once he reached the line of scrimmage. Manning wound up scorching the Cowboys' defense, completing 22 of 31 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns.The Giants see that same brilliance these days. Not many quarterbacks pay attention."HIS WAY WORKS, TOOManning has been skewered for being too passive, too unemotional and too willing to let bad body language after critical mistakes define him. He may not be as fiery as Peyton -- or even Tom Brady -- but his teammates have grown to embrace his dialed-down approach. Gone are the days when former Giants like Tiki Barber would chuckle at Manning's inability to inspire with his locker room speeches. Today's Giants see a quarterback who is cool under pressure and consistently gives them what they need."Instead of jumping on receivers when they make mistakes, Eli is more likely to pull them aside on the sideline, explain what they had discussed in practice and tell them what he's expecting from them," said former Giants quarterback and current ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck.
One of the reasons he and Kevin Gilbride get along so well is because Eli is the way he is. As his high school coach Gendusa said, "They've always had the same physical characteristics -- tall, good build, good arm -- but their personalities have always been different. Peyton has always been outspoken, the rah-rah guy who would get on people in the locker room. But the bottom line is that they both got results."Gendusa said Eli's competitive nature was most apparent in the little things he did away from the field. When practice ended, Eli was always the one willing to gather up his receivers for at least 30 minutes of extra throwing. When they were lifting weights together, Eli was more than willing to do his required work instead of, as Gendusa put it, "standing in the corner and acting like a quarterback didn't need to do those things." Gendusa also said that Eli's ability to shake off adversity and focus on the task at hand set him apart from most players. He'd love to be in that conversation with Peyton and Brady, but he also has never let that drive consume him.




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