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'Rocky Top' Near the Rocky Mountains

Posted Jul 28, 2014

Peyton Manning was the DJ for the music played during the stretching period Monday, and he led off with the banjo version of his school's most-used song.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The music choices for the stretching period are usually pretty standard; rarely do you hear something other than classic rock or hip-hop.

Then, at 9:20 a.m. Monday, the speaker in the southeast corner of the practice field was turned up, and an up-tempo picking of the banjo came through, loud enough to echo off the just-sodded berm and the steel beams of the under-construction indoor facility.

It was "Rocky Top."

And this wasn't the marching-band version that you hear ad infinitum when watching a Tennessee Volunteers game, but the old-school, bluegrass version first made popular by the Osborne Brothers in 1967.

The Broncos could thank Peyton Manning, one of the University of Tennessee's most accomplished alumni, for the choice. Manning danced, his arms flailing, his feet tapping.

"I’ve seen him dance but I’ve never seen him dance like that," said linebacker Von Miller.

"Oh my God, Peyton!" added defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson. "We knew this was coming. I actually talked to (Head Coach John) Fox about it, like, two days ago.

"'Rocky Top,' Rocky Mountain. It's gotta be a Tennessee thing, man. Me playing for the Titans a couple of years, I heard the song a couple of times.  I really didn't know he was going to play it today."

Predictably, this met with approval from the other two UT alumni on the roster -- punter Britton Colquitt and defensive lineman Malik Jackson.

"I love it. They need to play it every day," said Jackson, who played there in 2010-11.

"Malik Jackson surprised me by singing the song and knowing the words and everything," Vickerson said.

But even some non-Volunteers enjoyed the selection.

"I like that song because it reminds me of when Wyoming went out to Tennessee and we beat them, 13-7, believe it or not," said defensive tackle Mitch Unrein, referencing a Nov. 8, 2008 game at Knoxville's Neyland Stadium in which he had three total tackles. "I was giving Malik [grief] about it.

"They played that song in our locker room for a week straight before we went out there so it was just stuck in my head. But yeah Peyton had a nice dance out there. I was trying to mimic him a little bit but I just couldn’t do a good job doing that.”

Manning drew the cameras, but perhaps the best moves belonged to wide receiver Wes Welker, who danced in perfect time and looked as though he'd been listening to "Rocky Top" all his life.

Welker and others will need to have some different moves when teammates like Miller play DJ.

"When it’s my day I think you’ll be asking other guys about what I played and what they thought about what I played," said Miller. "It was Peyton’s day, so it was all good.”