Updated at 11:10 a.m.
Just where does Peyton Manning, job-seeker, stand now?
There are two front-runners, at the moment — but that could change in a process that makes the NFL Draft seem like a dull certainty by comparison. Crowds followed his every move in Denver and Arizona, the first two stops on his employment tour. Manning, released last week (you may have heard something about this) by the Indianapolis Colts, first visited Colorado, where the Broncos may or may not be confident of landing him.
Then he flew to Arizona and met with the Cardinals for over six hours Sunday. In the desert, he was met by wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who wooed him at the Super Bowl last month, and Coach Ken Whisenhunt, who offered a home-cooked meal and his personal chauffeuring services.
Although Manning had hoped to have a new home by the time free agency opens Tuesday afternoon, that now seems unlikely. At this point, reports indicate that he’s strictly talking offensive systems, not monetary terms, and is not showing teams how well he is recovering from his multiple neck surgeries and just how well his arm strength is returning.
Meanwhile, a new team would like to enter the fray. Bud Adams, owner of the Tennessee Titans, acknowledged Sunday just how badly he’d like to see Manning play in the same state in which he played in collge.
“He is the man I want. Period,” Adams told the Tennessean. “And the people that work for me understand that. They know who I want. I want Mr. Manning with the Titans and I will be disappointed if it doesn’t happen.”
All righty then.
“I hope to be one of the teams he looks at,” Adams said. “Since he went to school in Tennessee, I think Tennessee is where he should be. I think he could play for two or three years. I think he’s the guy that could come in and turn this around for us.
“That’s why I am so anxious to get him to come visit with us and I want him on my team. I could sit down with him and show him what [we’d be willing to pay]. If he would come [meet] with me he would be happy with what he’d get.”
There’s no word yet on whether Manning will make the trip or whether Tennessee, like Seattle and Kansas City, won’t make the cut. All of which, for the moment, leaves Denver and Arizona as the front-runners. With his 36th birthday approaching in 12 days, Manning has much to consider, but the biggest factor has to be how quickly he can return to the big game. But that doesn’t mean there might not be a surprise or that Manning is close to a decision, Peter King writes.
Keep one very important thing in mind: Manning may be open to considering other teams. Don't think it's going to come down to Denver and Arizona only. You get the feeling watching Manning that he's an open book and may take today and re-evaluate, and consider another team or two. This is a fluid situation.
Where should he go?
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