If the Miami press doesn't mess it up before the Dolphins' pursuit of Peyton Manning even begins, the 'Fins may implement a secret weapon in the hunt for their next franchise quarterback. That secret weapon would be their last franchise quarterback, one Dan Marino.
But first, South Florida media probably needs to back off a bit. According to several observers in the area, Manning wound up stopping his vehicle once he landed in Florida (where he owns a home), to ask the reporters and television helicopters to quit following him, and sorta get off his back while he considers his options. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Manning spoke to those reporters following him in Miami Beach because "I wanted to make this easier; let you do your work on deadline."
"I have no idea who wants me what team wants me," Manning continued. "I literally have not had one conversation with anyone about these teams. It's been so hard to try to figure out some closure with my situation with the Colts that I haven't really concerned myself with that."
Well, that was nice of him. Once Manning does meet with the Dolphins, as everyone expects that he will, Marino may come into play as a persuasive element. Per Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network, the two great quarterbacks have been friends for a long time, and often get together for golf or dinner.
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Darlington reports that in 2011, team owner Stephen Ross reached out to Marino, the greatest quarterback in franchise history, to see if he'd like a consultancy role with the team as it moved forward in the process of finding the signal-caller that could propel a roster it believes is one great quarterback from a deep playoff run. The position never materialized for whatever reason, but Marino could be asked to put on the serious sell job now that Manning is in his backyard.
From Darlington's NFL.com report:
Marino's perception of this business regime hasn't always been rosy -- and that's why Ross' recent outreach might be coincidentally important to the present.
For the first few years of Ross' ownership of the Dolphins, Marino wasn't as quick to warm up to the new regime, mostly because he didn't sense much extended warmth from their end first. Ross was busy adding celebrities to his arsenal of minority owners -- and yet never did he reach out to the one celebrity who matters most to South Florida football fans. Had the relationship continued on that track, regardless of Marino's lifelong loyalty to the organization, it most certainly could have impacted this potential courtship.
But it's a new day for Marino and Ross' Dolphins, which could bode very well for Miami. You don't think Marino and Manning will talk?
If Manning needs advice on the next step in his career, who better to talk to than one of the few guys in NFL history who has put up bigger career numbers than he has?
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