Peyton Manning offered the politically correct answer when asked about Tim Tebow at his press conference in Denver today, saying that he likes Tebow, respects him and doesn’t want to be seen as the one who’s pushing him out.
And Manning made clear that if Tebowmaniacs don’t like to see their man leave down, they shouldn’t blame Manning.
“We really didn’t have any conversations in respect to the quarterback position,” Manning said. “I know there are decisions to be made. Let me just say this: I know what kind of player Tim Tebow is and what kind of person he is. I’ve gotten to meet him personally one time, and what an awesome year he had this year. If Tim Tebow is here next year, I’m going to be the best teammate I can be to him and he and I are going to help this team win games. If other opportunities present themselves to him I’m going to wish him the best. He’s going to be a great player wherever he is. Those are decisions that have to be made by other people. Those aren’t my decisions. And those conversations never did come up with me. This is a place where I wanted to come, play football and help this team win in whatever role or capacity that is.”
Asked if he has spoken to Tebow, Manning answered, “I’m sure I will. I haven’t yet.”
Tebow is expected to be traded soon, so by the time Manning does make time to talk to Tebow, he may not be a teammate any longer. But Manning said getting to know his teammates is an important part of his job going forward.
“I haven’t had a whole lot of time to debrief since this happened Monday morning,” Manning said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know all Broncos teammates. I met Eric Decker on my visit, Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey have been blowing up my phone for the past week and a half so hopefully that’ll die down just a little bit and I’ll look forward to getting to know them in person. But there’s not many other Broncos players I know personally.”
And Manning won’t get the chance to get to know Tebow personally. Because whether he wants to take responsibility for it or not, Manning has pushed Tebow out of Denver.