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Former NFL star trying to grow sport


09-30-2016 16:07 BJT

NFL superstar Peyton Manning was in China earlier this week. The league's all-time leader in yards thrown, and touchdowns, was chucking the pigskin on the Great Wall during his tour as the global embassador for the NFL, looking to promote the sport.

Manning went out on top, retiring after helping Denver beat Carolina to earn his second Super Bowl title this February, and now he wants to help bring America's game to China, but only after going down the slide at the Mutianyu portion of the structure.

For the NFL in China, this is literally the opening snap of their vision to expand the game into the world’s most populous nation.

The league is starting to make inroads in a country which is more used to ping-pong balls than oval footballs.

That is where Peyton Manning comes in, he is the NFL’s new global ambassador and is trying to do his best to promote grid-iron here -- and is taking a hand on approach.

"I love seeing young people that love football, that have a passion for it, that are having fun. They have a big smile on their face," he said.

"They’re working on their skills, listening to their coaches, so the idea is to get more kids like that playing football over here in China. And there’s tremendous potential I think to grow that."

Manning has been touring some of China's most notable sites in his efforts to promote the sport -- and his new employer the NFL is looking to another one of its iconic places - the Bird's Nest to host a future NFL game.

He said:" As a player, playing in a game in China I think would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I played in a preseason game in Tokyo, one in Mexico City, and one in Toronto, so I played three games outside of the US and all three of them were special.

"And to play a real game in China I think would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for those players, those teams, those coaches. I think the fans would really enjoy watching that game.

"I think that China would enjoy having a game here in Beijing at the Bird’s Nest where you’ve had the Olympics. That would be special and that would really help jump start getting more interest in football over here."

After the clinic hundreds of these fans came to this forum at the Bird's Nest in order to meet their football idol

Although the idea of the NFL in China continues to be a foreign concept, it continues to grow in popularity.

The game is still in its infancy here, but with clinics like this, it may not be long before we see a Chinese suiting up in the NFL.

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