Duke head coach David Cutcliffe was complimentary of the Carolina Panthers and said he can feel the excitement out on the recruiting trail.
But don’t get confused about who he will root for in Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7.
“I don’t want to make all of the Panthers fans mad, but please understand I’m pulling for the Broncos,” Cutcliffe said Friday.
That feeling goes beyond his connection to Peyton Manning. Former Duke players Juwan Thompson (running back) and Kenny Anunike (defensive end) are on the Denver Broncos’ roster as well (Anunike is on injured reserve). Both were undrafted out of Duke but have caught on in Denver.
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And then there is Manning, whom Cutcliffe tutored while he was the offensive coordinator at Tennessee. And it was Cutcliffe that helped Manning rebuild his throwing motion after neck surgeries in 2011.
“When he was working his way back after the surgery and the Colts had informed him that they weren’t bringing him back, he didn’t have a team,” Cutcliffe said. “He didn’t know if he had a future. There was actually probably more doubt there, about was it over, than there may even be now.
“When he first came back, he couldn’t throw it across this room. That’s kind of amazing what’s happened. This is the second Super Bowl since that time.”