Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning knew there were plenty of microphones and cameras around last week, when he told Patriots coach Bill Belichick that “this might be my last rodeo.’’
But to Manning, the ability to offer a word of respect was more important that the possibility that the worst kept secret in the world might be revealed.
Via Mike Klis of KUSA in Denver, Manning said he wanted to deliver his message in person to a coach and quarterback he had played against so often, in so many big spots, rather than sending word later.
“I’m not naïve, I understand there are people around – I wanted to use that particular time to tell a coach that I’ve had 23 games against and have had some disappointing losses and some great wins – I told the quarterback Tom Brady the same thing,” Manning said. “There’s something about telling a person at that particular time as opposed to a text or even a handwritten letter. There’s something about telling a guy man-to-man, ‘Hey, boy you’re a heckuva player, you’re a heckuva coach. I’ve enjoyed these battles.’
“And I may play against these guys 10 more times. Brady’s going to play till he’s 70, Belichick is going to coach till he’s 90. Maybe I hit the fountain of youth in the next couple of months and play another 10 years. Who knows?”
Manning then gave the qualifier, the addendum that has kept him from making the declarative statement which everyone expects.
“But in case it was the last time I played against them in the championship,’’ Manning said, “what I said was true, “Hey, this could be. No definite. And something about telling them man to man, it wasn’t planned it was reactionary.
“You media folks are all over the field. You barely have time to move or talk to anybody so I just took the time to tell those guys and it was the way I felt at that particular time’’
The fact that Manning chose to go that route isn’t surprising, as he’s a guy who hand-writes notes. It’s not the modern way to communicate, but he never seemed like the type to tweet out his own news with a selfie anyway.