Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will play in his third Super Bowl this Sunday, but if things had worked out differently as a free agent two years ago, he might be here with his opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, instead.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week that he and general manager John Schneider made a shortlived attempt to sign Manning in the spring of 2012.
"We started the process to make an effort to see if there would be some kind of connection here for us," Carroll said. "Word got out and, really, he called me first. He knew that we were interested. He gave me a call, woke me up one morning. (I) jumped out of bed and (said), 'OK, let's go. What's up Peyton?'
"So we started talking. We talked about the basics of what it might mean for him coming to us, so the process was under way."
Manning had just been released by the Indianapolis Colts after 14 seasons because of four neck surgeries and a looming $28-million bonus payment, and Carroll said the quarterback was still in the early stages of whittling down his list of suitors at that point.
"He had said that he didn't know what he was going to do, he didn't know where he was going to visit, he didn't know what was going to come up, but he wanted to at least hear where we stood and what our interest was," Carroll said.
The Seahawks were a month away from drafting Russell Wilson at the time and in need of a quarterback to build the team around.
Ultimately, Manning met with five teams -- the Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and Broncos -- before signing a five-year, $96-million deal with Denver.
He led the Broncos to 13 wins each of the last two years and their first AFC championship since 1998, while Seattle used the salary cap room it saved by not signing Manning to build the best defense in the NFL.
On Sunday, Manning will try to win his second Super Bowl championship at MetLife Stadium. Seattle is trying for its first.
"We tried to get involved with that to see if there was a next stage of the process, and there wasn't," Carroll said. "It was very brief. It was fun for a while, with the magnitude of the player and the background and all of that. We were excited about it, to see what would happen, (but) we hadn't set our sights on this (being something that was) going to change the program, at that point. We were just going to follow through on it. We did that, and it was over."
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Original headline: Seahawks tried to sign Peyton Manning before he went to the Broncos
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