Eli Manning to donate cleats to Smithville PeeWee League

By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal

Smithville’s PeeWee Football League at one point was left wondering if it would even have a 2011 season.

The season will be played and Eli Manning will have made a footprint on it.

Tracy Cox, whose nine-year-old son Jacob has played in the league since he was six, took a chance.

Cox sent letters to Nike, Under Armour, Brett Favre, the Green Bay Packers because her husband Michael is a fan, Riddell, Schutt and Archie Manning explaining the league’s situation following the April 27 EF-5 tornado.

Cox couldn’t find a physical address for Peyton or Eli Manning so she sent a letter to dad Archie.

“I was worried about the team not having equipment so I asked if he or Peyton or Cooper or Eli would help us out. I just flat out asked,” Cox said. “That was pretty much it.”

While turned down by some of the others due to their non-profit stipulations or already used charitable funds, Cox kind of lost track of her request.

The league had already started receiving help from other areas and last Monday, Cox got an email from a Manning family representative.

“She said she had gotten the letter and Eli wanted to donate cleats,” Cox said. “All we had to do was get the boys’ shoe sizes.”

The 50-plus members of the league will all receive Reeboks, Eli’s sponsor, as the season gets underway with an Aug. 27 jamboree. The league will host a fundraiser jamboree at Smithville Sept. 3.

The teams are currently practicing at Hatley.