According to The Denver Post, the Broncos sent a plane to pick up Manning in South Florida, where he has a condo. He had traveled there after an emotional news conference in Indianapolis on Wednesday, when he said goodbye to the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 1998 and he led to the 2007 Super Bowl championship.
ESPNews carried live coverage of the flight arriving at an airport in Denver, then also followed Manning’s car ride to Broncos headquarters. And while Manning met with Elway & Co., inside the building, a blue helicopter hovered overhead.
This was only the beginning.
Arizona, Miami, Kansas City, Seattle, Tennessee and Washington are among the other possible destinations, as Manning becomes one of the most coveted free agents in league history, even though he turns 36 later this month and is coming off a series of neck operations. He missed all of last season, and the Colts decided to cut ties rather than pay a $28 million bonus that was due this week.
It’s not often that teams get a chance to sign a quarterback who has thrown for more than 50,000 yards and nearly 400 touchdowns, been picked for 11 Pro Bowls, and been a Super Bowl MVP. Manning’s importance to the Colts‘ success was never more apparent than last season, when their record plummeted to 2-14 without him.
Because he was released and went on the waiver wire Wednesday, Manning is allowed to negotiate and sign with any club immediately; he does not need to wait until the free-agent period that begins Tuesday.
“I don’t know how important money will be to him, but I’m sure it will be part of the equation,” Hunt said. “He’s going to be looking for an environment that he’s comfortable in.”
He declined to say whether the Chiefs already have offered Manning a contract.
“I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to talk about discussions at this point,” Hunt said, “but he is somebody that we’ll want to talk to.”
AP National Writer Eddie Pells and Phoenix sports writer Bob Baum contributed to this report.
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