DENVER - It was like a summer camp reunion when Russell Wilson had his pre-NFL draft visit to the Denver Broncos facility in 2012.
"Peyton Manning was sitting in the locker room, and I went up and talked to him," the Seattle Seahawks' second-year quarterback said Wednesday, smiling broadly at the memory.
“[Manning] was like, 'Have I seen you somewhere before? I think I've seen you. Good to see you. I must have seen you before somewhere. Where do I know you from?'" Wilson recalled, according to Seahawks.com.
Indeed they had met.
Wilson explained he attended the Manning Passing Academy when he was a sophomore in high school.
"There were thousands of kids there, and I was actually in [Manning's] group -- me and 12 or 15 other guys," Wilson said. The young Seahawks star praised the future-Hall-of-Fame quarterback's touch as a camp instructor, "just how much care for the kids at the time, and how much detail he always talked about and what a perfectionist he was."
"I try to use that in my game. I've got a long ways to go, obviously. But I just try to do all the little things, and that's what he does. He takes tons of notes. He does all the right things. And he puts his team in the right position to win football games," Wilson said.
"I love him to death," Wilson said. "He's just a great person, first of all. And obviously a great football player, all the accolades he has and all the big games he's won. So I have a lot of respect for him."
Now the teacher and the former student will face off when the Broncos and Seahawks take the field for Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2
"To our knowledge, it's the first Super Bowl matchup we can recall pitting Camper vs. Camp Counselor," NFL.com writer Marc Sessler dryly noted.