Manning had interest but passed on Seahawks
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.”