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Considering everything Austin Denton has been through in his young life, interviewing Peyton Manning under the spotlight of Super Bowl Opening Night on Monday was not going to faze him one bit.
The 14-year-old high school freshman and aspiring broadcaster, who survived a battle with cancer and a tumor on his spine six years ago, looked like a seasoned pro in talking to the Denver Broncos' star quarterback at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.
The teenager from Albuquerque, New Mexico, asked Manning how special being able to play in his fourth Super Bowl will be and what kind of atmosphere he expects. He also hit Manning with the burning question on many minds leading into Super Bowl 50 about whether Manning, 39, will retire following the game against the Carolina Panthers.
"You're sharp,'' Manning said. "You're well dressed and you're smart and you're sharp. I don't know the answer to that. I have really tried to take it one week at a time with all that has occurred this season."
Denton also interviewed former Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Cowher, who is now an NFL analyst with CBS. TODAY.com reached out to Denton for comment, but he wasn't immediately available.
With his crisp suit and polished demeanor, Denton added a level of professionalism among the thousands of media members in attendance, considering Manning was also asked questions by a man in a mask and a puppet
At the end of his brief interview with Manning for NFL Network, Denton then threw the broadcast back to host Rich Eisen like he'd done it a million times before. It's no surprise given that Denton already served as a spotter and statistician for ESPN Radio KQTM in Albuquerque this past fall.
It was the latest step in an inspiring journey for Denton, who works from a wheelchair or uses forearm crutches as a result of a tumor that appeared on his spinal cord when he was 2 years old, according to MaxPreps. Denton, who is four feet tall and about 60 pounds, had his growth stunted because of his various cancer treatments, but he has been in remission for the last six years.
None of that has stood in the way of his pursuit of a broadcasting career, which included doing post-game interviews from local high school football games this fall. He also served as the team manager for his high school football team, the La Cueva Bears.
"I don't let things get me down,'' he told MaxPreps. "I try to figure out how to make things better. Most days I have a positive attitude."
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