Report: Peyton Manning to be part of tribute to COVID-19 fighters before NFL Draft

Dec 15, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Former Denver Broncos player Peyton Manning before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The COVID-19 pandemic will make the 2020 NFL Draft an experience unlike anything we’ve seen before. But before the fully-virtual NFL Draft begins, one of the league’s most iconic figures will deliver a speech to rally the nation and thank those fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.

According to NBC Sports’ Peter King, Peyton Manning will voice a two-and-a-half-minute video dedication that will pay tribute to the essential workers who have played a critical role in fighting against COVID-19.

Manning’s speech will lick off the NFL Draft by reminding everyone about the important role essential workers, especially those in the medical field, are playing during this pandemic. He will also speak on the sport of football and the role it can serve during this critical time, before providing everyone with a sense of hope before the NFL Draft begins.

The NFL will also be holding a Draft-A-Thon immediately after Manning’s speech, with NFL Network host Rich Eisen leading the three-day fundraiser for COVID-19 relief efforts. Together, the NFL community has already raised more than $50 million for COVID-19 relief in the United States.

While the league initially received pushback on holding the NFL Draft as scheduled, the event will serve as a wonderful escape for many across the country. Fans will be entertained for three days, teams will get to return to some form of normalcy and everyone will be together during a difficult time.

When the 2020 NFL Draft is over, the league will have likely raised even more money for COVID-19 relief efforts and left everyone coming out of it feeling more hopeful for the months ahead.