The Associated Press — Peyton Manning is again lending his support to football helmet manufacturer Riddell as it provides equipment grants across the country to teams as part of the company's Smarter Football initiative.
The "18 in 18" program which launches Tuesday nearly doubles the 10 grants that Riddell awarded last year with Manning's input.
"It also happens to be my favorite number," said Manning, who wore No. 18 during his playing career with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.
"Not only does it mean delivering more equipment grants to deserving teams, but it also means that we can shine a light on more programs that are playing the game the right way," said Manning, who will help review the applications. "Our goal is to inspire the football community to continue to take steps forward in better protecting today's players."
The Smarter Football initiative rewards teams across the country for implementing smarter, safer tactics and techniques on and off the field. More than 2,400 football programs have applied for equipment grants since its inception.
"Today's players and coaches know that safety starts with the right equipment," Manning said. "Working with Riddell has really opened my eyes to the level of detail and design that goes into making the best gear available. It's an honor to be part of the Smarter Football program and provide state-of-the-art equipment to teams that need it."
The deadline for entries is July 9.