Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

March 13, 2012

AP Source: Peyton Manning to meet with Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  — A person familiar with the situation says the Tennessee Titans will be visiting with four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning in his search for a new team.

ESPN.com first reported Titans coach Mike Munchak will meet with Manning after a session with Miami coach Joe Philbin.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Monday about Manning’s meeting with the Titans on the condition of anonymity because the location and time of that meeting remains confidential.

Titans owner Bud Adams made it known Sunday he will do whatever it takes to sign Manning to get back to the playoffs and win his team’s first Super Bowl. Adams told The Tennessean he had talked to Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, asking for a visit with the quarterback.

Manning has plenty of connections to Tennessee.

He starred at the University of Tennessee, leading to his first name becoming a popular choice for newborns in this state. His wife is from Memphis, and Manning already knows the Titans’ facility a bit, having practiced against Tennessee a few years ago when the Colts came to town for some joint practices.

Munchak also was a teammate of Archie Manning in 1982 and briefly in 1983 with the then-Houston Oilers. Munchak just hired Dennis Polian — son of former Colts general manager Bill Polian — as his assistant.

But the biggest key is Adams, the 89-year-old billionaire who wants back in the playoffs. His Titans have been only twice since 2004 with both trips in 2007 and 2008 lasting only one game each. A meeting with Manning could come in Houston where Adams still lives after relocating his Oilers to Tennessee in 1997.

“I want Manning,” Adams told The Tennessean. “I’d love to see him in Titan blue after watching him so many years with the Colts. ... 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.”

The Titans already have veteran Matt Hasselbeck, signed to a three-year contract last July, and Jake Locker picked with the No. 8 overall selection in the 2011 draft. But Hasselbeck is due $5.5 million in salary this year after getting a chunk of his deal last season.

So far, Manning has met only with the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals.

He was expected to be heading back to Florida, but did not show at the Dolphins’ headquarters Monday despite reports he would meet with the team.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross arrived at the team complex at midmorning, and several players — including quarterback Chad Henne — showed up around the same time to work out. Henne is a free agent and not expected back this season.

A media stakeout at the complex began when a local TV station camera crew arrived at 4 a.m. Half a dozen TV cameras and a handful of reporters eventually gathered across the street. They weren’t allowed on the team’s property, but a Dolphins official brought out water, pizza and napkins.

Curious motorists occasionally pulled up to ask for an update.

Manning spent nearly 6½ hours at the Arizona Cardinals’ headquarters and training facility on Sunday in meetings designed to lure the superstar to the desert.

The session followed a meeting of nearly six hours Manning had at the Broncos’ facility in Denver on Friday night. The two sessions were evidence that, for the time being at least, Arizona and Denver appear to be the top two contenders.

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