It must be said that through the process that eventually landed him in Denver, Peyton Manning was about as un-Favre-like as a future Hall of Fame quarterback could be. Far from No. 4's offseason attention jags, Manning went as under the radar as possible. He conducted a workout for the San Francisco 49ers that wasn't discovered until three days after it happened, which must be a record in the Twitter-led world of modern football journalism. When he found that the Miami Dolphins weren't the right fit for him, Manning actually wrote team owner Stephen Ross a letter to explain why.
In return for these niceties, Manning wanted as much control over the process as possible. Potential suitors were identified, and summarily accepted or rejected as first-round lottery winners, with the prize being Manning's undivided attention for the franchise sell job.
One team that didn't get past the opening gates was the Seattle Seahawks, who decided to up the ante and break into the game anyway. Head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider flew to Denver during one of Manning's pre-signing visits there, and tried to get him on board -- figuratively and literally. As impressive as the gesture may have been to others, Manning wasn't impressed. From SI.com's Peter King:
Manning got a call informing him that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had flown, unannounced, with Seattle G.M. John Schneider to the airport in Englewood. Carroll would do whatever Manning wanted—talk for a while in Denver or on the plane to Arizona, his next visit, or fly him to Seattle for a lengthier discussion.
Peyton Manning does not like surprises. He said no thanks. Carroll flew home.
While the move seems a bit tone-deaf in retrospect, Seahawks fans have to be impressed at the lengths to which Carroll and Schneider will go to improve their team. They saw an opportunity, were rejected at first, and said, "To heck with that -- let's see if we can get this done!" Fans of many teams would love for the guys running their favorite franchises to be so proactive.
In the end, the Seahawks signed former Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn to a three-year, $26 million contract, furthered their situation along as much as they could, and prepared for the future. During the conference call announcing Flynn's signing, and with Manning signed in Denver, Carroll explained the process by which he and Schneider tried to wrest Manning out of John Elway's clutches.
"We did talk and we messaged back and forth," Carroll said. "[Manning] actually called in early in the process. We just couldn't get it hooked up. We tried real hard to see if we could find a way to see where it stood. We took an approach at this just like we've taken at every other opportunity that comes down the line to help your football team — we go for it. We competed to see how far we could take it and we found that there was an end to it and so we turned on ... Obviously he's figured it out, and it sounds like he's making a good choice.
"We tried to fit in to their schedule that looked like it had some space in it, but there wasn't enough. So we made an effort. It's kind of just classic for us — just competing to try to find a way and we just couldn't pull it off at that time. We had to take a shot at that. It didn't work out for us there."
Well, at least Manning didn't sign with the Arizona Cardinals, which would have put him up against the Seahawks twice per season. "I like that. Yeah, I like that. He'll continue to serve the AFC in great fashion. I'm glad he's over there."
Of course, Carroll would have been happier had Manning actually given the Emerald City a shot, but you can't blame a guy for trying...
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