INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning added a new pitch to his plethora of endorsements Wednesday - one that came from the heart.
On the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Manning gave an impromptu boost to the tourism industry in his hometown of New Orleans by calling on those who have not visited the city recently to return.
``People around the country need to know they can still use their help and support,'' Manning told reporters. ``Prayers and money are good, but there has been progress in certain areas and people can visit those areas. They need the tourists to come back.''
For Manning, New Orleans has always been a special place.
His father, Archie, was a longtime quarterback for the Saints and then served as a color analyst for Saints games on the radio. It was New Orleans where the league's two-time MVP honed his football skills, first in his parents' backyard and later at Isidore Newman High School.
Manning's parents and older brother, Cooper, still live in New Orleans, and after the hurricane struck in August 2005, Manning was one of the league's biggest names to lend support to the recovery effort. Manning and his younger brother, Eli, even shipped a planeload of supplies back home.
And next Thursday, Manning will open his 10th NFL season against the Saints.
While Manning acknowledged the recovery effort is continuing, his visits have shown a side of New Orleans he believes others also need to see.
``Certainly there's been some progress, and there certainly needs to be more,'' he said. ``It's taken two years to get to this point, and I think two years from now there's still going to be more work that needs to be done. I will say in my visits down there, that spirits are high. ... But what they really need is people to come back to New Orleans.''
Manning commended Saints players, many of whom live in the city, for their support and specifically cited the contributions of running back Reggie Bush and coach Sean Payton for their help in the recovery effort.
Payton has assisted with Habitat for Humanity projects, while Bush has helped direct donations to replace turf at a high school football field, keep a private school for special needs children open and bought Hummers for a suburban police department.
Manning also believes the success of the local sports teams, such as the Saints reaching their first NFC Championship game last season and the highly ranked LSU football team, has helped create excitement among New Orleans residents.
``Most of the people who are back there now, I think, are there for the long haul,'' Manning said. ``In places like Lakeview and Metairie, where there was high flooding, they're committed to rebuilding. There is progress in certain areas, but there needs to be more in others.''
Advertisement

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Chiefs vs. Steelers Pick The Steelers host the Chiefs at 8:30PM ET on Sunday night in a game that should fall under the total for bettors.
Thumbnail Rams vs. Cardinals Pick NFC West rivals clash in Arizona on Sunday in what should be a relatively low-scoring game between the Rams and Cardinals at 4:25PM ET.
Thumbnail Cowboys vs. 49ers Pick Can another big injury keep the Dallas Cowboysfrom being able to compete on offense with the San Francisco 49ers...
Thumbnail Broncos vs. Buccaneers Pick Will the Denver Broncos put on another offensive showcase this Sunday when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 4:05PM...
Thumbnail Saints vs. Chargers Pick The Saints own the worst defense in the league but will the under still hit in San Diego when they visit the Chargers at 4:25PM ET on Sunday?
More inNFL Articles  
Advertisement

NFL Team Pages