Quarterback Peyton Manning pays a visit to the Arizona Cardinals training facility in Tempe on Sunday.(Photo: CHERYL EVANS/THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC)
By Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean (Nashville)
Titans owner Bud Adams wants Peyton Manning, and said he is prepared to make a competitive offer to get him.
The issue, of course, is whether the future Hall of Fame quarterback wants the Titans.
Adams told The Tennessean on Sunday he has contacted Manning's agent, Tom Condon, and is pushing for the former Colt to visit the Titans.
"He is the man I want. Period," Adams said. "And the people that work for me understand that. They know who I want. I want Mr. Manning with the Titans and I will be disappointed if it doesn't happen."
Titans General Manager Ruston Webster, Chief Operating Officer Mike Reinfeldt and Coach Mike Munchak could not immediately be reached for comment.
Indications are they don't share Adams' passion to acquire the former University of Tennessee star, but they understand this is a unique situation involving one of the greatest players of all-time.
That was before the Colts officially released the four-time NFL MVP, however. Manning has already visited the Broncos and is currently visiting the Cardinals. Several others teams have also expressed an interest in Manning, including the Dolphins.
"I hope to be one of the teams he looks at," the 89-year-old Adams said. "Since he went to school in Tennessee I think Tennessee is where he should be. I think he could play for two or three years. I think he's the guy that could come in and turn this around for us.
"That's why I am so anxious to get him to come visit with us and I want him on my team. I could sit down with him and show him what (we'd be willing to pay). If he would come (meet) with me he would be happy with what he'd get."
Adams also said he would speak to Manning about staying in the team's front office whenever Manning decides to retire.
"I want him to be with me the rest of his working period of his life," Adams said, "even when he doesn't want to play anymore."
Condon could not immediately be reached for comment. Adams said Condon hadn't decided if Manning would visit the Titans.
"He is all for having him come see me," Adams said. "He just wants to make sure my people in Tennessee want the same thing too - Ruston and Mike and Mike. I am 650 miles away (in Houston) but (they) will do what I say to do because that's the guy I want and I am going to make the decision."
This isn't the first time Adams has gotten involved in quarterback decisions.
In 2006, Adams made it known he wanted the organization to draft quarterback Vince Young with the third pick overall, which was against the wishes of then-GM Floyd Reese and Coach Jeff Fisher, who wanted Southern Cal's Matt Leinart. Young played five seasons for the Titans, who released him after the 2010 season.
Adams said he's been satisfied with Hasselbeck and Locker, and acknowledged the latter of the two is the future at the position, but stressed the chance to acquire Manning is a unique opportunity for an organization yet to win a Super Bowl.
The Titans drafted Locker with their first-round pick last year. Hasselbeck still has two years left on his contract after signing as a free agent last season, when he led the Titans to a 9-7 record.
"But I want Manning. I'd love to see him in Titan blue after watching him so many years with the Colts," said Adams, the team founder. "I will be upset because if I didn't get him. I want him. I am ready to do what it takes to get him aboard and I think he'd be the guy to get us into the playoffs."