When the Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning in 2012, football teams lined up around the block to sign him. He was coming off neck surgery and a one-year absence, but everyone had some level of interest in the Hall of Fame quarterback.
One of those teams was the Tennessee Titans, who were coming off a 9-7 season led by Matt Hasselbeck that wasn’t good enough to reach the postseason. Jake Locker was waiting in the wings, but if the Titans could land Manning, they would have become a playoff contender immediately.
Manning, a Tennessee native, turned down the Titans to sign with a Broncos team that went 8-8 in 2011, but reached the playoffs by winning its bad division with bad quarterback Tim Tebow at the helm. Manning went on to win an MVP and Super Bowl, but told a crowd at the Middle Tennessee Sports Awards at the Music City Center in Nashville that the Titans were nearly his new team in 2012.
“I was pretty close,” Manning said of almost choosing the Titans.
And that’s the only quote about that. Seems like you’d want to follow up and hear about just how close he was. Maybe Mike Munchak took him to Tootsie’s, got Manning loaded, got him excited about the prospect of playing for Tennessee, then showed him that he’d be throwing to Nate Washington, Kenny Britt and Damien Williams and Manning ran, literally, to Denver.
“I was pretty close” is probably what you say to make a crowd of people in Nashville happy when you were probably closer to signing with the Jets.