- Associated Press - Saturday, March 10, 2012

ENGLEWOOD, COLO. (AP) - Peyton Manning’s whirlwind free-agency tour kicked off in grand fashion, complete with a chartered plane coming to pick him up and a helicopter hovering overhead as he met with the Denver Broncos.

And this was only Day 1 of his adventure.

Manning spent Friday in Tim Tebow’s neighborhood, chatting with the Broncos for nearly six hours.

Speculation was that Arizona was next up, and television crews were staking out the Cardinals’ headquarters in Tempe on Saturday. But there was no sight of the superstar.

Not that the facility was quiet. The Manning frenzy coincided with Kurt Warner’s “Ultimate Football Experience,” a fundraiser for his foundation.

Manning is the NFL’s marquee free agent after being released by the Indianapolis Colts two days ago. The Broncos rolled out the red carpet for visit by the four-time MVP.

Brought in from Miami on a plane sent down to swoop him up, Manning spent the day with Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, who also serves as Denver’s vice president of football operations. Manning was escorted around the building, with coach John Fox and general manager Brian Xanders along as well.

When his marathon day was over, Manning hopped into the same silver SUV he arrived in and was whisked away without talking to reporters.

His next stop? There are more than a half-dozen other suitors, with Arizona and Miami among those expressing interest.

But spending the first day in Denver certainly made for some interesting conversation. After all, this is a city still engulfed in Tebowmania, especially after the unorthodox quarterback led the Broncos to the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.

But having Manning in for a visit raised anew the question that has hovered over the team: Is Tebow a long-term solution or just a feel-good story for a season?

As news spread of Manning’s arrival _ with reporters and TV helicopters covering every inch of the Broncos facility _ a handful of curious fans started making their way over.

“Let’s do it, Peyton,” one of them yelled through a gate upon spotting Manning walking out of the weight room. He glanced over and gave a quick wave.

Across the parking lot, one fan with an Elway jersey, another with a Tebow jersey and a few more with Manning’s iconic Colts No. 18 showed up.

Peyton Manning is a terrific leader. He has amazing aim and seems to have a sixth sense of what’s going to happen on the field. He’s phenomenal to watch,” said Graham Millar, a lifelong Colts fan who lives in Aurora, Colo. “You feel like you’re watching a psychic. But it’s preparation. He knows exactly what to expect from every single player on that field.”

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