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Pete Carroll: Manning Called Me

When word came out last week that the San Francisco 49ers were interested in Peyton Manning, ESPN’s report included this bit about the Seahawks’ interest:

“Manning first visited the Broncos March 9, followed by a visit to the Cardinals, but there were other unreported developments last weekend, such as the Seattle Seahawks parking a jet at an airport in the Denver area in a failed attempt to visit with the quarterback, according to sources.”

Then The Seattle Times mentioned that the Hawks were prepared to chase Manning to Miami.
It sounded like Pete Carroll and John Schneider flew to Denver on a wing and a prayer, hoping to catch Manning like some moony fans waiting for a movie star to walk down the red carpet. It almost seemed like Manning was going to have to get a restraining order against the Seahawks.
But it apparently wasn’t quite as impetuous as that: Carroll told KIRO Radio on Tuesday that Manning actually called him initially.

“He had contacted me, wanting to talk about coming here,” Carroll told Brock Huard and Mike Salk. “It was about expressing interest and realizing he had to start making some plans and figuring it out. That’s how it started.  This was not just a blind shot. We had some setup to it. It just didn’t work out.”
Once Manning set up his trip to Denver, the Seahawks thought they might catch him before he headed to Arizona.

“We knew we had a very small window,” Carroll said. “We said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ We jumped on a plane and went. We couldn’t get it hooked up. We were laughing the whole way. It was so classic for us to compete and do something crazy. … Unfortunately it didn’t work out.

“We weren’t that disappointed,” Carroll added. “We didn’t have expectations that it was going to happen.”

Then Carroll made sure everyone understood he and Schneider would always explore potential opportunities like that.

“This is exactly within the same philosophy as every situation we’ve had. We go for it,” he said.

“We’re going to see how far we can take it, see if there are players who can help us. …

“I really hope you guys will learn to anticipate that with us. That’s the way John and I have orchestrated every single thing that comes down the pike. If we can see an opportunity, we’re going to extensively look into it and figure out if it fits … in hopes of never missing a great chance. That was just another one of those examples.”


Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck probably went out to celebrate Tuesday night.
The Manning Sweepstakes had the NFL world holding its collective breath, but none more than the quarterbacks whose jobs were in the balance.

With Manning picking Denver, Tim Tebow is the one who got the short end of the stick. The Broncos obviously had to get rid of him to avoid the uncomfortable circus that otherwise would develop with a future Hall of Famer and a fan favorite in the same locker room. Instead, Tebow, the league’s biggest sideshow, ended up with the Jets, the league’s biggest clown show.

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s courtship of Manning apparently ticked off Alex Smith, who pretended to be interested in Miami and Seattle but ultimately kissed and made up with Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers.

In Tennessee, the arrival of Manning surely would have sent Locker back to the bench and Hasselbeck back to the street. But now they can look forward to their friendly battle for the Titans’ starting gig in 2012.

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