When Peyton Manning decided to play for the Broncos, he also had to decide not to play for any of the other teams that had pursued him. It was a decision, Manning told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen on Tuesday, that he didn’t take lightly.
“I wanted to go to all of them at one point,” Manning told Eisen. “But, like the other decisions I’ve made in the past, I decided to make it and not look back … I have to go to work to make it the right decision.”
It might not be of much consolation to the Titans, Cardinals, Dolphins or 49ers — the other teams that went after Manning following his release from the Colts — but the four-time MVP was impressed with all of his suitors and admittedly overwhelmed by his first foray into free agency.
“I kept wanting for somebody just to tell me, just tell me where to go,” he said. “I mean, that NFL Draft is not all bad, because you just go there, and there’s no choice. And so, having it be my choice, that got harder and harder, especially the more I got to know these people.”
When Eisen asked Manning if he would have stayed away from the NFC, where his brother, Giants QB Eli Manning, plays, Manning said he could have foreseen a situation where he would have gone to San Francisco.
“I wouldn’t have had the discussions and the talks and the workout for the San Francisco 49ers if,” Manning said. “I knew that San Fran was in the NFC, and when the two of us started to talk, I very easily could have seen myself being a 49er, and that’s why it was so hard.”
Citing Titans coach Mike Munchak and Niners coach Jim Harbaugh as examples of people who impressed him, Manning said the process was reminiscent of another time in his career.
“I remember the same feeling when I was in high school,” said Manning, who played college ball at Tennessee. “I wanted to go to Ole Miss, wanted to go to Florida … you have to pick one.”