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Staff file photo by C.B. Schmelter / Former University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning did his part Thursday to encourage UT students who are finishing the semester with online-only classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Five-time NFL MVP and former University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning dropped in on one of his alma mater's online classes Thursday to boost the spirits of students having to finish their coursework virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

UT communications professor John Haas was conducting an online class when Manning's face suddenly appeared on the screen.

"I just wanted to drop in and say hello to all the fellow communications students there," Manning said. "I realize this is a unique time and probably not the ideal way you guys expected to spend your senior year, but I just encourage you to keep a positive attitude, keep working like you're doing and try to take advantage of a little bit of the extra time that you have to accomplish something else or help out somebody in need — 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 is going to support you every way (it) can, and Dr. Haas and his department is going to do the same thing."

UT posted Manning's video appearance on Twitter. The video also showed some students saying, "Thank you, Mr. Manning," after the retired quarterback finished speaking.

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