Talking about his free-agency decision of 2012, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning indicated that the process, including the Seahawks’ approach, wasn’t something he was fully comfortable with. However, he followed that with a story about an earlier kindness from coach Pete Carroll.
Manning was asked “What do you remember about Seattle’s recruitment of you when you were a free agent” and why he didn’t sign there.
“You can only pick one team to go play for. It reminded me of college somewhat, that you would like to play for a lot of teams. Go play for this team for a year, maybe give this team four or five games and bounce around. It’s not the way it works; you have to pick a team. That seems like a long time ago, that free agency, recruiting, if you will. I remember it wasn’t very private. It was quite a public spectacle. I could have done without that.
“I know Pete Carroll. Pete was the head coach of the Patriots my first two seasons with the Colts. They were in our division. I knew him then, and I knew Pete when he was with Southern Cal. He actually did a pretty cool thing for me. One time, I was in Los Angeles during the summer in June, and I had some commitment there. I needed to throw, and I needed to work out. I called over to Southern Cal’s football offices, and got ahold of Coach Carroll. I asked if his receivers and quarterbacks were throwing that day, and could I come over and join the throwing session because I was getting ready for training camp. He gave me the time, and I got over there at 3 o’clock. I just wanted to join right in and throw whatever routes Southern Cal was throwing. Coach Carroll had eight receivers, four tight ends, four running backs – all stretched, lathered up and ready to go when I got there. I said, ‘What routes do you want to run?’ They said, ‘No, Coach Carroll said we are going to throw whatever routes you want to run. This is going to be your workout.’ That is about as good a treatment as you can get for a visitor to a different team. 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. Of course my allegiance is always to the University of Tennessee, but on that day, Southern Cal helped me out. Coach Carroll is an outstanding coach. I know he is a great recruiter.
“I had to pick one team to go play for, and the Denver Broncos was the team that I picked.”