Peyton Manning went back to school Thursday.
The quarterback made a surprise appearance in professor John Haas' Communications 499 course's videoconference and greeted the University of Tennessee students who are taking the class online now because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Haas teased Manning for being late and even suggested he should be running stadium stairs as a result.
Manning also had words of encouragement for the students, who are facing a difficult situation (h/t Chris Low of ESPN):
"I realize this is probably not the ideal way you guys expected to spend your senior year. I just encourage you to keep a positive attitude, keep working like you're doing and try to take a little bit of the extra time you have to accomplish something else or help out somebody in need. There are a lot of people hurting out there during this time.
"Be thankful for what you have and just know the University of Tennessee is proud of you and going to support you every way they can, and Dr. Haas and his department are going to do the same thing."
Low noted Manning has a special relationship with Haas and even honored the professor by donating $1 million to Tennessee to establish the John Haas Student Experimental Learning Endowment.
Manning played four seasons for the Volunteers from 1994 through 1997 and had his jersey retired by the school in 2005. He led them to the 1997 SEC championship before going on to win two Super Bowl titles in a legendary NFL career.