Peyton Manning was just released by a capricious owner who can't keep things to himself, and clearly wants to take over his team, despite the absence of any professional football acumen. If you're a fellow NFL owner, your best bet at landing a Manning visit to your facility is to avoid acting like Jim Irsay. Somehow, Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams didn't get the memo.
In a story written by Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, Adams came right out and said that he wants Manning on his team, and he really doesn't care what it takes to get it done.
"He is the man I want. Period," Adams told Wyatt on Sunday. "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."
Adams has spoken to Tom Condon, Manning's agent, and has tried to bridge any interest gap with the potential for a very attractive offer -- no matter what chief operating officer Mike Reinfeldt, general manager Ruston Webster, and head coach Mike Munchak might have to say on the subject. And according to Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network, the Titans are preparing for a visit from Manning in the next couple of days.
"[Condon] is all for having him come see me," Adams said of Manning. "He just wants to make sure my people in Tennessee want the same thing too — Ruston and Mike and Mike. I am 650 miles away [in Houston], but [they] will do what I say to do because that's the guy I want and I am going to make the decision. … I think I will be able to work it out myself as far as the money angle goes."
In 2011, the Titans signed veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to a three-year, $20 million contract, and selected Washington quarterback Jake Locker with the eighth overall pick. There will be an open competition between the two quarterbacks this preseason -- at least, that's been the plan so far -- unless Adams is somehow able to upset the applecart by putting in a legit eleventh-hour bid for Manning's services.
"I want Manning," Adams said. "I'd love to see him in Titan blue after watching him so many years with the Colts. I will be upset if I didn't get him. I want him. I am ready to do what it takes to get him aboard, and I think he'd be the guy to get us into the playoffs."
So, there's that. The problem with getting Manning on board is that he almost certainly would not want to play for a meddlesome owner who will set phasers to stun if he doesn't like what he hears -- and Adams has an interesting history in that regard. In 2010, he sided with quarterback Vince Young in Young's ongoing battles with then-head coach Jeff Fisher. Not a wise move, as both Young and Fisher have moved on. Adams also overruled Fisher and GM Floyd Reese in the 2006 draft, insisting that the team select Young in the first round instead of Matt Leinart.
Admittedly, that's like helping a guy miss a huge pothole and then directing his car off a cliff, but the overarching point is that Peyton Manning has had more than enough drama in the last year. He wants to play football for as long as he can, and perhaps win another Super Bowl with the right organization. A franchise whose owner runs roughshod over the people he hires to take care of personnel? Probably not the most attractive option at this point.
Manning has been in that place before -- and for a host of reasons, he's certainly looking for something very different now. And "something very different" would not include a team owner who once got fined $250,000 for doing this: