JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Peyton Manning likened free agency to being a college recruit again.
At least that’s how it felt to the Denver Broncos’ quarterback upon being released by Indianapolis after the 2011 season, thus becoming one of the most hotly pursued players in recent NFL history. One of those suitors was Seattle, which has been no secret, and Manning recalled as much Wednesday ahead of a meeting with the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
“I remember it wasn’t very private,” he said. “It was quite a public spectacle.”
A minor annoyance, it seems, as Manning quickly transitioned into talking about a more memorable experience with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. It came when Carroll was coaching at USC.
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“I was in Los Angeles during the summer in June, and I had some commitment there,” Manning said. “I needed to throw, and I needed to work out … because I was getting ready for training camp.”
So Manning called Carroll to see if he could join the team’s throwing session. Upon arrival, Manning noticed the receivers, tight ends and running backs were stretched and ready to go.
“What routes do you want to run?” Manning asked them.
“No,” a player responded. “Coach Carroll said we are going to throw whatever routes you want to run. This is going to be your workout.”
The gesture stuck with Manning, who Wednesday called it “about as good a treatment as you can get for a visitor to a different team.”
Broncos speedster Trindon Holliday was a two-sport star at LSU, excelling in football and track. As such, his athletic dreams included the Super Bowl and the Olympics.
“I said whichever profession I chose, I hoped I’d make it,” said Holliday, who once ran the 100-meter dash in 9.98 seconds, wind aided, at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
No surprise that speed has made him one of the most dangerous returners in the NFL, with four combined punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns.
But does he ever miss track?
“Of course I miss that aspect of my life,” he said, noting he has no regrets. “It’s something that I grew up doing and it’s one of those things that you miss but you can always go back and do.”
The Broncos’ Britton Colquitt knows all about the family business: punting.
Brother Dustin punts for the Kansas City Chiefs. Father Craig punted for the Super Bowl-winning Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978 and 1979. Uncle Jimmy punted collegiately at Tennessee. Grandfather Lester had an offer to punt at Alabama but enlisted in the military instead.
Britton said his house growing up was lined with “Steelers’ Super Bowl stuff on the wall” but that he wasn’t pushed into punting.
“This was what we were meant to do,” he said.
And how about the next generation?
“Dustin has five kids now, four boys and a girl; at least one them, I am sure, will be able to do it,” joked Britton, who also has a son.
• Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and his wife have invited Roman Catholic Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver to Sunday’s game, according to The Denver Post. The report adds that Aquila, a longtime Broncos fan, will celebrate Mass with some of the team’s players and coaches Saturday night.
• Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas said he agrees with Richard Sherman, the self-proclaimed top cornerback in the NFL: “I do feel like he’s the best in the game. Watching film on him, he’s in the right spot at all times. He knows what’s going on the field. … I am going to have to figure out something.”
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers