It seemed like one of those perfectly innocent and happy off-season team-building exercises. A bunch of Denver Broncos players went to watch the Colorado Rockies take on the New York Yankees at Coors Field in Denver on Tuesday night. They were relaxing in the owner's suite, eating hot dogs and ice cream provided by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, and right tackle Orlando Franklin was speaking to a local media person about his hopes for the 2013 season.
And then, it all went to heck. As you can see about a minute into the video above, receiver Eric Decker came careening out of nowhere, and nailed Franklin with a goopy plate full of whipped cream. The old standard pie in the face -- a staple of baseball celebrations for decades -- had come to the Denver Broncos. It was easy to see that it was a setup; many Broncos players on the other side of the suite had their phone cameras rolling before Decker did the dirty deed.
And it was Manning, the inveterate prankster, who was behind it all.
“I was just standing there and all of a sudden I saw Decker run by with a plate full of whipped cream," tight end Joel Dreessen recalled. "Obviously, I saw Orlando getting interviewed and then I saw what was going on. I kind of stood up on a chair to get a better view of things. I don’t know whose idea it was but it worked out.”
Franklin had no doubt as to the identity of the ringleader.
“I feel like Peyton and Decker, they got me real well last night," he said. "I’m definitely looking forward to revenge at this point ... I think a lot of guys are going to jump at that opportunity. So we’ve just got to plan something out real well for him and get him when it counts.”
Franklin, the second-round pick in John Elway's first Broncos draft of 2011 out of Miami, has started all possible games since he came into the league. He's going to be around for a while -- especially if the team continues to struggle with a new long-term contract for star left tackle Ryan Clady -- and that gave him solace regarding his potential for revenge.
But Dreessen, who's already been on the receiving end of one of Manning's pranks, said that it's not always easy to trick the future Hall of Fame quarterback. After Manning tried to change the language on Dreessen's cel phone to Chinese, Dreessen planned his own plot that eventually went awry.
He was charging his iPad at my locker so I set a dog barking alarm to go off at like 2:00 in the morning," Dreessen recalled. "[I thought] for sure—he’s a study maniac—he’s going to take his iPad home but he leaves it at my locker overnight. I got home that night and I was like, ‘Man, he’s got twin babies and I don’t want to wake his wife up.’ So I totally chickened out and I texted him that night, ‘Hey, I set your iPad to go off at 2:00 in the morning. Turn it off.’ He’s like, ‘Actually, I didn’t bring it home.’ So he shoves it in my stomach the next day: ‘Hey, take this alarm off of there.’ So I turned it off. I chickened out though. I regret that; I should have left it on.”
Franklin was attending his first baseball game ("Definitely a bad experience," he later said with a laugh), and this isn't the first problem he's had with a teammate this offseason. When the Broncos signed former San Diego Chargers guard Louis Vasquez to reinforce their offensive line, Vasquez asked Franklin if he could stay at Franklin's house until he got his own housing situation sorted out.
“No," Franklin said, when asked if Vasquez was a good roommate. "He came in one night, the first night he got there, he ate my meals. He woke up, ate my meals. I had to talk to him about that. Just a bad houseguest, I think. No, I’m playing. He was actually a good roommate. But he did eat my meals, and I wasn’t happy about that.”
Vasquez should know better -- you NEVER take food out of the mouth of a lineman. As for Manning, he'd better watch his back -- it would appear that he's got most of his offensive teammates plotting against him ... in a relatively harmless way, of course.