Updated: March 9, 2012, 6:17 PM ET
ESPN.com news services
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About 48 hours after being released by the Indianapolis Colts, Manning met with another Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway, and coach John Fox. The three chatted while taking a tour of the team’s practice field and heading to the weight room.
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.
Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen the visit does not define the Broncos as the favorite to land the four-time MVP who was released by the Colts on Wednesday. In fact, other teams are starting to be aggressive in expressing their interest in Manning.
A Washington Redskins official told Schefter on Friday that the team wants to speak with Manning and still intends to try to sign him, despite speculation that Washington is a longshot.
No contract negotiations are expected to occur during the Denver visit, first reported by the Denver Post.
Manning was not expected to work out for the Broncos, sources said.
Manning wants to familiarize himself with Denver’s physical facilities, the organization and the geography, and his trip is expected to include other visits, such as to the Arizona Cardinals, sources said.
A trip to Kansas City to meet the Chiefs is also a possibility.
“He’s one of the greatest players in the history of the league,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt told NBC Sports Network. “He’s also an incredible person. We feel really good about the team we have in Kansas City going into the 2012 season, but we’ll look for any opportunity to improve and, of course, that includes Peyton Manning.”
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At least 12 teams have reportedly reached out to Manning’s representatives, but Hunt wouldn’t characterize what the Chiefs have done.
“I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to talk about discussions at this point, but he is somebody that we’ll talk to,” Hunt told NBC.
One team that may now be out of the running is the New York Jets. A league source told ESPNNewYork.com’s Rich Cimini that the Jets appear unlikely to land Manning.
“There’s been no mention of the Jets anywhere,” the source said. “I think they’re out.”
Sources told ESPN that the order in which Manning visits teams will not reflect the order of his preferred choices because, as one source said, “There is absolutely no preferred choice at this time. This is typical (Manning) doing his own research because it’s a first-time and only-time process from a free-agent vantage point. Physically seeing facilities and the geography of cities that he is not acquainted with is part of his own research.”
Manning was released after 14 years and one Super Bowl win in Indianapolis. The Colts were faced with paying a $28 million bonus to a 35-year-old QB who has had at least three neck surgeries and missed all of last season.
Sources have said Manning would like to make a decision within a week on where he will play next year.
The Broncos would present an interesting landing spot since the nation was captivated by the exploits of Tim Tebow last season. He came from third on the depth chart in camp to lead the Broncos to the playoffs and an upset of the Steelers, but his throwing mechanics consistently have been questioned.
Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN. Adam Schefter is an ESPN NFL Insider. Information from The Associated Press and ESPNNewYork.com’s Rich Cimini was used in this report.
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