When Peyton Manning was released by the Colts in 2012, a handful of NFL teams showed serious interest and wanted to meet with the future Hall of Famer.
Former Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan recounted the process as part of an oral history to The Athletic.
“We were very much interested in Peyton at that time,” Shanahan told The Athletic. “I mean, I followed his career. I know him quite well, so I feel like we had an excellent chance to get him. But knowing that Eli [Manning] was in the NFC East, it surely wasn’t a slam dunk.”
Manning was intrigued. After meeting with the Broncos, Manning met with Mike Shanahan and then-Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
“I went over to Mike’s house and visited with Mike and Kyle Shanahan, and we sat in their den and watched film,” Manning said. “Kyle went over their offense. I was really impressed with Kyle.”
However, the Redskins pursuit of Manning ended when Washington made the blockbuster trade to move up to the No. 2 spot in the draft, setting them up to select Robert Griffin III.
“I had known Mike for a long time, played for him in a Pro Bowl, and we’ve stayed in touch, and so I felt comfortable talking to them,” Manning said. “But they had made a trade for the second pick of the draft, which they ended up taking Robert Griffin III. So as soon as they made that trade, even Mike kind of knew that eliminated them. It just wasn’t going to make sense. Kind of like the Colts, they were obviously going to go with a quarterback in the first round.”‘
Shanahan went on to say that Broncos GM John Elway told him a few years later that he believed Manning wanted to play for Washington.
“I think Peyton was disappointed,” Shanahan said regarding the trade. “Kyle and I were kind of surprised that he still wanted to meet with us. I can remember talking with John Elway one time not too long ago, a few years ago. He said, ‘Mike, do you realize that Peyton, I think, was going to go to your place? I think he really wanted to go to your place more than our place.’ I said, ‘Really? I didn’t know that.’ And that came from John. I knew we were fairly close.”
Manning ultimately signed a five-year contract worth $96 million with the Broncos.
Griffin did not pan out in Washington and he was released by the Redskins following the 2015 season, the same year Manning won a Super Bowl with Denver.
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