AUSTIN, Texas - Future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning shared some words of encouragement to a local high school team as part of Riddell's Smarter Football grant awarded to the Texas School for the Deaf.
"Really it was such an honor to be selected as one of the 10 teams to receive this grant funding," TSD Football head coach John Moore said.
In a video message with closed captioning Manning, a quarterback for 18 seasons in the NFL, congratulated the Texas School for the Deaf for receiving the grant which emphases player safety.
"I was impressed to learn how your team through innovative coaching and a unique style of play was able to take the head out of the game," said Manning in the video.
His message inspired the players during practice.
"The kids really responded in a really positive way. They were thrilled to hear from a football quarterback," Moore said. "Out of all the schools across 800 applicants for this grant, to be selected and be recognized by Peyton Manning was a huge honor, they were quite inspired by that."
Moore said he was looking to buy some new equipment when he came across the grant.
"They really emphasize on player safety," Moore said. "We do what we can to keep our players safe. It's about playing smart football."
One way Moore said they keep their players safe and what he feels helped them win the grant was their use of a drum.
"Those reverberations help us feel when the plays are starting we know where everyone is rather risking getting hit," said Moore.
Moore said they are always coming up with creative ways to keep their players safe.
"We're honored to recognize the coaches and the players at the Texas School for the Deaf to your contributions to the game especially in the heart of Texas where football means so much to communities," said Manning in the video, "Best of luck this season."
This $10,000 grant will be going towards safety equipment including head protection.
"Peyton, maybe you'll come check us out on the field and say a few words to us," said Moore.