In another sign that Peyton Manning was never high on the Dolphins, a report out today says that Manning wasn’t even willing to talk to the Dolphins until one of his childhood heroes, Dan Marino, intervened on his old team’s behalf.
We noted last week that Marino said he didn’t plan to call Manning but that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross might ask Marino to make the call, and it turns out that’s exactly what happened: Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post reports that in the first few days after the Colts cut Manning, the Dolphins grew frustrated because they hadn’t reached Manning directly and hadn’t even been able to get his agent to agree to a meeting. That’s when they asked Marino to call Manning personally, and it was only after the two of them talked that Manning agreed to meet with the Dolphins on Monday.
Even when Manning agreed to that meeting, it was clear that Manning wasn’t as interested in the Dolphins as he was in the Broncos, Cardinals and Titans. With those teams, Manning went to the team facility and met with all the key players. With the Dolphins, Manning said they’d have to come to him in Indianapolis, and that only members of the coaching staff — not Ross, not G.M. Jeff Ireland — could attend.
Manning has long expressed admiration for Marino, saying he grew up loving to watch Marino play and still fashions himself after Marino as a passer. So it’s not surprising that when Marino called, Manning decided to do him the courtesy of giving the Dolphins the meeting that Marino requested.
But from all indications, the meeting wasn’t much more than a courtesy. It appears that the Dolphins were, at best, Manning’s fourth choice.