Man­ning had in­ter­est but passed on Sea­hawks

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS - By BOB GROTZ

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Pey­ton Man­ning checked out the Seat­tle Sea­hawks in free agency be­fore de­cid­ing to play for the Den­ver Bron­cos two years ago.

If you don't be­lieve in co­in­ci­dences, it's added a twist to Su­per Bowl XLVIII match­ing those teams Sun­day at MetLife Sta­dium.

In Man­ning's first two NFL sea­sons he played against Pete Car­roll, who was the head coach of the Pa­tri­ots.

Later Car­roll im­pressed Man­ning al­most be­yond words dur­ing his tour as head coach at USC.

Man­ning re­called Wed­nes­day tak­ing a sum­mer com­mit­ment on the West Coast and hav­ing no one to play catch with. He put in a re­quest to Car­roll.

“That is about as good a treat­ment as you can get for a vis­i­tor to a dif­fer­ent team,” Man­ning said on the Cor­nu­copia Majesty Ship docked at the Hy­att Re­gency. “I re­ally had a neat day throw­ing. I didn't get to see him though, and I'm not even sure he was in town. He set that up for me.”

Car­roll, now head coach of the Sea­hawks, said he got a call af­ter Man­ning was cut by the Colts two sea­sons ago. Car­roll was con­vinced Man­ning was in­ter­ested in join­ing the Sea­hawks but the vet­eran never vis­ited Seat­tle.

“It was very early and he had said that he didn't know what he was go­ing to do, he didn't know where he was go­ing to visit, he didn't know what was go­ing to come up but he wanted to at least hear where we stood and what our in­ter­est was,” Car­roll said. “We tried to get in­volved with that to see if there was a next stage of the process and there wasn't. It was very brief. It was fun for a while, with the mag­ni­tude of the player and the back­ground and all of that. We were ex­cited about it, to see what would hap­pen, but we hadn't set our sights on this.”

Man­ning didn't men­tion how se­ri­ous he was with the 'Hawks. Ear­lier this sea­son he blew off a sim­i­lar ques­tion about the Ea­gles.

Man­ning didn't ap­pre­ci­ate the freeagent process.

“I re­mem­ber it wasn't very pri­vate,” he said. “It was quite a pub­lic spec­ta­cle. I could have done with­out that.”

The Sea­hawks have done well with­out the 37-year-old Man­ning, who is a dozen years older than Sea­hawks quar­ter­back Rus­sell Wil­son and would sur­prise no one by re­tir­ing af­ter the Su­per Bowl.

*** Much has been made about the Bron­cos' edge in ex­pe­ri­ence and how it will im­pact their ef­fort in the Su­per Bowl.

That min­i­mizes how much the game has changed, es­pe­cially at quar­ter­back where Joe Flacco was 28 when he sparked the Ravens to vic­tory and was Most Valu­able Player of the last ti­tle game.

“I don't think it's that big of a deal,” Car­roll said. “I think it's han­dling the process, han­dling the dis­trac­tions, han­dling the new­ness of this game and this matchup, that you would think that the un­fa­mil­iar­ity, the new­ness, might make it a prob­lem. But I don't think it's go­ing to be a prob­lem. I think we're go­ing to go play foot­ball the way we play, and we'll find out. Ob­vi­ously, I can't worry about it be­cause we don't have that ex­pe­ri­ence.”

*** The Bron­cos prac­ticed out­doors on ar­ti­fi­cial turf with shoul­der pads ac­cord­ing to the Pro Foot­ball Writ­ers of Amer­ica pool re­port.

De­fen­sive tackle Sione Fua (calf) was held out of prac­tice.

The Sea­hawks worked in­doors al­beit with­out run­ning back Mar­shawn Lynch, among oth­ers.

“Every­body's fine,” Car­roll said. “This is the day we rest Mar­shawn. Wed­nes­day is al­ways a rest day for him. We've been do­ing that for years, and it's al­ways worked out great.”

Wide re­ceiver Doug Bald­win (hip) and de­fen­sive tackle Bran­don Me­bane (an­kle) didn't prac­tice

*** Percy Harvin is ex­pected to re­turn kicks for the Sea­hawks, which could help spe­cial teams.

Team­mate Golden Tate feels the 'Hawks can beat the Bron­cos with­out Harvin play­ing wide re­ceiver.

“We missed him be­cause he was on the team and we know that he could help us but we knew how to man­age,” said Tate, who caught a team-lead­ing 64 passes for 898 yards and five touch­downs in the reg­u­lar sea­son. “Last year when we didn't have him and we still only lost four games. We feel like we're just fine with or with­out him. We're ex­cited to have him back be­cause he brings more to the ta­ble. He's go­ing to open it up for other guys more. But at the end of the day, we were just fine. He's played what, two games? I think he's played 33 snaps this sea­son and we're still here in the Su­per Bowl.”

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