49ers look like serious player in Peyton Manning pursuit

FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2011 file photo, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, center, talks with quarterback Alex Smith (11) during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in San Francisco. In the Bay Area, they're beginning to think about the possibility of Jim Harbaugh coaching former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and believe it truly might happen. 49ers free agent quarterback Alex Smith traveled to Miami Sunday, March 18, 2012, to meet with the Dolphins. But if San Francisco doesn't sign Manning the 49ers will have some serious relationship-building to do with Smith. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2011 file photo, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, center, talks with quarterback Alex Smith (11) during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in San Francisco. In the Bay Area, they're beginning to think about the possibility of Jim Harbaugh coaching former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and believe it truly might happen. 49ers free agent quarterback Alex Smith traveled to Miami Sunday, March 18, 2012, to meet with the Dolphins. But if San Francisco doesn't sign Manning the 49ers will have some serious relationship-building to do with Smith. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jim Harbaugh coaching Peyton Manning. In the Bay Area, they're beginning to think about the possibility and believe it truly might happen.

A former NFL quarterback, Harbaugh worked wonders with Alex Smith in a matter of months for the NFC West champions, and now all signs point to the 49ers being a serious player in the Manning sweepstakes. Smith, who had a three-year offer on the table to return, traveled to Miami on Sunday to meet with the Dolphins.

"It's crazy," said 49ers running back Frank Gore, who has long been a big supporter of Smith. "I'm going to sit back and let them do their job. I'm sitting back and waiting for it to happen."

Everybody is eagerly anticipating decision day, likely this week.

If San Francisco doesn't sign Manning, the 49ers will have some serious relationship-building to do with Smith even after he developed a close relationship with Harbaugh. The Niners might even need to bump him up from the $24 million he has reportedly been offered.

And there could be similar fallout in Tennessee and Denver if those teams don't land Manning, who turns 36 on Saturday. The four-time NFL MVP sat out the 2011 season and is trying to come back after he was released by Indianapolis following a string of neck surgeries.

For Smith, his visit to South Florida also could be a move by the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick to protect himself with a possible backup plan. He and Manning are both represented by agent Tom Condon of CAA Sports.

"This is the NFL. I guess nothing surprises me anymore," Smith told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel upon arriving at the airport Sunday. "I never thought a year ago (Peyton) Manning would be a free agent either. I'm never surprised by anything."

Harbaugh watched Manning work out last Tuesday at Duke, and now the former Colts star has held sessions for all three of the franchises believed to be the finalists to sign the biggest free agent of 2012. Only the 49ers are yet to publicly acknowledge their interest.

Manning worked out for Tennessee on Saturday in Knoxville, one day after he showed his skills to Hall of Famer John Elway and the Broncos at Duke.

While Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman saw Manning last week and San Francisco emerged as a surprise contender to sign the 2007 Super Bowl-winning quarterback, it seems 49ers CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke certainly would want to make their pitch to Manning in person, too.

Pulling off this one would be the second major splash by the 49ers' brass in as many offseasons.

In January 2011, York and Baalke wooed Harbaugh away from nearby Stanford on a $25 million, five-year deal. And what a job Harbaugh did: San Francisco went 13-3 and ended an eight-year stretch without a playoff berth or winning record, losing 20-17 in overtime of the NFC title game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

If Smith leaves and Manning doesn't sign or were to get hurt, the 49ers would be left with unproven second-year pro Colin Kaepernick, but this is a team that isn't afraid to take chances when the reward could be huge. Just look at a two-day span for San Francisco last week. The 49ers signed Randy Moss on Monday and a day later cornerback Perrish Cox, who was acquitted earlier this month on sexual assault charges in Colorado.

Harbaugh has a knack for coaching anybody into a winner with his "Who's got it better than us? Nobody!" chants and other unorthodox motivational tactics — some of which he learned from his coaching father, Jack, and big brother and Baltimore Ravens coach John.

The NFL coach of the year last season, Harbaugh has to believe he'll have no problem coaching a veteran quarterback like Manning. The former Colt is among the greatest ever to play with 54,828 yards passing, 4,682 completions and 399 touchdown passes.

"He's a Hall of Famer, first ballot, that's all I got to say," Gore said of Manning. "He's one of the best ever to play the game. I'm going to sit back and let them do what they think is best."

If winning is more of a priority for Manning than a big payday, the 49ers have put things in place over the past week. They signed Moss to a one-year deal, then brought back Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers on a $31.3 million, four-year contract to give San Francisco 11 returning starters on Vic Fangio's talented defense. The 49ers then agreed to terms on a two-year contract with former Giants wideout Mario Manningham late Saturday.

"I know coach Harbaugh and Trent Baalke feel good about what they're doing," Gore said. "They know what they're doing."

Perhaps all of that is enough to attract Manning, despite the thought he would prefer to stay in the AFC and not have to regularly face off with his younger brother, Eli.

This year marks Manning's 15th in the NFL — the same number of seasons Harbaugh spent in the league with the Bears, Colts, Ravens, Chargers and Panthers. A first-round draft pick taken 26th overall by Chicago in 1987, Harbaugh completed 2,305 of 3,918 passes for 26,288 career yards and 129 touchdowns in the NFL. He also ran for 18 TDs.

Elway, of course, also has quite the pedigree.

Perhaps Elway's pursuit of Manning might mean he doesn't have faith in Tim Tebow as the Broncos' QB for the future. Denver squeaked into the playoffs as AFC West champions on the final day of the regular season last year.

Titans owner Bud Adams declared earlier this month he wanted Manning and considers him the missing piece to a championship team. That might not sit too well with Matt Hasselbeck, who signed to a three-year contract last July with Tennessee.

The pursuit of Manning has kept the Titans from addressing their defensive line early in free agency, one of their top needs. Mario Williams signed with Buffalo, John Abraham re-signed with Atlanta and Jason Jones left Tennessee for Seattle.

Other teams also might be behind in building their rosters because of the chase for No. 18.

The Dolphins and Arizona fell out of the running, and the Cardinals are moving ahead with quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Gore, who spends his offseason in Miami each year, isn't going to begin to guess what might happen next in the Manning story — and what it might mean for him next season.

"I don't know, man," he said. "I don't know."

____

AP Sports Writers Steven Wine in Miami, Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn., and Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this story.

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Comments » 38

clvolfan writes:

Would be ironic if he signs to play for and be coached by the QB he replaced in Indy.Good place for a chance to get to SB,but would be ok if he signs with the Titans,although I pulled against them when they played Peyton in Indy.

voloffaith writes:

Appears they are setting the table to provide great 'meal deal'. Receivers better with Manningham and 'Don't grow no' Moss. Defense strong so team doesn't have to score 40+to win. Running game is average to tad above. San Fran long way from Indy for family though...school kids on west coast....3 yrs in 49er land then children first grade age for zany west coast schooling if not homeschooled....

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

Manning to Moss and a defense. Mercury Morris, they'll be coming down your street. Can you say 18 and 0.

manoffewwords writes:

Titans

DonK37920 writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Appears they are setting the table to provide great 'meal deal'. Receivers better with Manningham and 'Don't grow no' Moss. Defense strong so team doesn't have to score 40+to win. Running game is average to tad above. San Fran long way from Indy for family though...school kids on west coast....3 yrs in 49er land then children first grade age for zany west coast schooling if not homeschooled....

I don't buy your Education argument because I guarantee you that California ranks ahead of Tennessee in both public and private education. With the money Manning has, he will send his kids to private school and I will guarantee you that there are great private schools in San Fran. It is home to Silicon Valley and Stanford after all. Plus we are only talking about a few years left to play. I would think the cost of living might be more of a factor than education.
That said, I hope he signs with the Titans. Would give me a reason to finally become a fan.

mountainbrook writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Unlike most people, Manning can actually afford to live in high cost California too.

JBruce writes:

As much as Id love to see him with the Titans; the 49ers would be a great fit for him. It's a team that is ready to compete for a Super Bowl, right now. I'll pull for Peyton either way he goes.

FLVOL_79 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You obviously have never been to California.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

I still think he comes home to Tennessee, JMO. This article is written by someone from the San Fransisco media. That's not to be overlooked.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree. You make a good point as some will view it as him turning his back on Tennessee. I hope he does good no matter where he lands.

voloffaith writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It ain't called the left coast for nothing....Ummmm..ahhh.. yes ..Barbara Boxer, Ms. Pelosi...yes stability is in the air...insane court system that convicts insurance agent for "theft" in selling a senior an annuity and cd where she makes money...really google it. Sorry, I said nothing bad about God's beautiful creation amidst the smog areas. Only the leftist mindset that pervades the area....

gillblog writes:

The differential arguments for either of the teams is beginning to tire. Everyone in the world understands Peyton wants to make the 'right' decision but the more the clock ticks on without his decision the closer this method comes to being a LeBron-type scenario.

As much as we all here love and support Peyton, there comes a time when the lack of a decision hints of manipulation and the lable from Jim Irsay which most bristled Peyton, that he was a "politician" begins to ring true.

By now, Peyton SHOULD have all the information he needs to make a choice. Further delay only tries the patience of his fans....including me.

voloffaith writes:

in response to gillblog:

The differential arguments for either of the teams is beginning to tire. Everyone in the world understands Peyton wants to make the 'right' decision but the more the clock ticks on without his decision the closer this method comes to being a LeBron-type scenario.

As much as we all here love and support Peyton, there comes a time when the lack of a decision hints of manipulation and the lable from Jim Irsay which most bristled Peyton, that he was a "politician" begins to ring true.

By now, Peyton SHOULD have all the information he needs to make a choice. Further delay only tries the patience of his fans....including me.

I don't get a Lebron feel here...this is a guys career and he is entitled to see his suitors as they are him. Decision day or so. Relax and allow him this major family decision as it is his to make...sorry it seems drama ...media helps make it so...

FLVOL_79 writes:

in response to voloffaith:

It ain't called the left coast for nothing....Ummmm..ahhh.. yes ..Barbara Boxer, Ms. Pelosi...yes stability is in the air...insane court system that convicts insurance agent for "theft" in selling a senior an annuity and cd where she makes money...really google it. Sorry, I said nothing bad about God's beautiful creation amidst the smog areas. Only the leftist mindset that pervades the area....

Boxer and Pelosi...if there was ever a reason for mother nature to send California into the sea there are two right there.

gillblog writes:

in response to voloffaith:

I don't get a Lebron feel here...this is a guys career and he is entitled to see his suitors as they are him. Decision day or so. Relax and allow him this major family decision as it is his to make...sorry it seems drama ...media helps make it so...

Yes, I respect all of that, but he is into week three after his release from the Colts. He knows what he wants in the next team he plays for and you cannot convince me he doesn't know the exact makeup of all the teams who are in the interested group. They have all observed him throwing and if those teams were not seriously committed to paying him what he wants they would not have spent time and effort to watch his throwing sessions. Everybody knows everybody else very well. There cannot be any questions now beyond financial tinkerings (remember, he is not a rookie or even close. When you say "this is a guy's career" you are talking about a mult-millionaire in the very last two or at best three years of his working life) and as he continues to delay a decision it feeds suspicion about what his motives truly are.

And that is why I make the LeBron comparison.

voloffaith writes:

in response to gillblog:

Yes, I respect all of that, but he is into week three after his release from the Colts. He knows what he wants in the next team he plays for and you cannot convince me he doesn't know the exact makeup of all the teams who are in the interested group. They have all observed him throwing and if those teams were not seriously committed to paying him what he wants they would not have spent time and effort to watch his throwing sessions. Everybody knows everybody else very well. There cannot be any questions now beyond financial tinkerings (remember, he is not a rookie or even close. When you say "this is a guy's career" you are talking about a mult-millionaire in the very last two or at best three years of his working life) and as he continues to delay a decision it feeds suspicion about what his motives truly are.

And that is why I make the LeBron comparison.

Mon Capitan we agree to disagree.....

gillblog writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Mon Capitan we agree to disagree.....

Agreed.

west_tn_volfan writes:

in response to DonK37920:

I don't buy your Education argument because I guarantee you that California ranks ahead of Tennessee in both public and private education. With the money Manning has, he will send his kids to private school and I will guarantee you that there are great private schools in San Fran. It is home to Silicon Valley and Stanford after all. Plus we are only talking about a few years left to play. I would think the cost of living might be more of a factor than education.
That said, I hope he signs with the Titans. Would give me a reason to finally become a fan.

Your guarantees are not worth much. The state of Tennessee ranked ahead of California in both math and science. California public schools are a cesspool of pc garbage. Don't believe they're behind Tennessee? Check out the link http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07...

RockyTopinAlabubba writes:

I know Peyton wants to put himself in the best position to win,but I just cant see him living in the most homosexual and far left looney capitol of the world. Would you really want your kids to go to school out there? If you can win a SB with the crappy colts team. No way you don't win one with the Titans. JMO

FanNotSheep writes:

Personally I think he would have announced by now had SF not gotten into the mix. So I see no reason to blame Manning for having to consider the possibility of playing for the 49ers. Cheap shot by Irsay to ever call Peyton a politician. He could have played the fans against the owner in Indy and created a huge revolt. Instead he acted all buddy buddy and Irsay comes out looking great. Manning is a class act, don't really care what anyone says different.

voloffaith writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'll humbly grant ewe a waiver considering the time of your post. You make an assumption and it all breaks down from there. Also I'm going to put a lot of stock in a Canadian study. OOPS I'm not a mensus(SP),but wait a minute I am conservative so based on that strong Canadian study I have to be prejudiced and racist....FOX NEWS is bad huh? Boy what does that make Wolf Blitzer and CNN....

On topic, as the quarterback turns....we will know soon enough how the saga will end/continue.

nfvol writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Personally I think he would have announced by now had SF not gotten into the mix. So I see no reason to blame Manning for having to consider the possibility of playing for the 49ers. Cheap shot by Irsay to ever call Peyton a politician. He could have played the fans against the owner in Indy and created a huge revolt. Instead he acted all buddy buddy and Irsay comes out looking great. Manning is a class act, don't really care what anyone says different.

True. Peyton needs to do what is right for him, not for his UT fans (me included).

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Ok if you are going to use the term Mensa, please spell it correctly. So funny...

voloffaith writes:

in response to hcjournals#206623:

Ok if you are going to use the term Mensa, please spell it correctly. So funny...

Good morning to you to mister spelling bee leader....chuckle no harm meant...please reread my post and you will see I put (SP) write after to designate my questioning the spelling of it...shows I ain't smart enuff to be part of their party.....So funny let's all laugh together...thick skin make for rough exterior Kemosabe.....

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Good morning to you to mister spelling bee leader....chuckle no harm meant...please reread my post and you will see I put (SP) write after to designate my questioning the spelling of it...shows I ain't smart enuff to be part of their party.....So funny let's all laugh together...thick skin make for rough exterior Kemosabe.....

I beg to differ sir. Your plenty smart enough to have played a major role for either party according to what I've seen from them in my days. Just sayin...

1vavolfan writes:

Do you guys really think that Peyton will be sending his kids to public schools?I'm sure there are good private schools in San Francisco since it is one of the most expensive cities in the United States to live in. Hopefully he is less homophobic and a little more cultured most of the people on this board.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

in response to gillblog:

The differential arguments for either of the teams is beginning to tire. Everyone in the world understands Peyton wants to make the 'right' decision but the more the clock ticks on without his decision the closer this method comes to being a LeBron-type scenario.

As much as we all here love and support Peyton, there comes a time when the lack of a decision hints of manipulation and the lable from Jim Irsay which most bristled Peyton, that he was a "politician" begins to ring true.

By now, Peyton SHOULD have all the information he needs to make a choice. Further delay only tries the patience of his fans....including me.

Manipulation? Since when does having all of the information suddenly make it easy to make a decision? That's not how my life works. There's a lot for him to consider. I'd rather Peyton take the time he needs for him and Ashley to make the right decision than to worry about "trying the patience of his fans"...since it really doesn't change our lives one bit beyond making us happy or not.

therightstuff writes:

in response to gillblog:

The differential arguments for either of the teams is beginning to tire. Everyone in the world understands Peyton wants to make the 'right' decision but the more the clock ticks on without his decision the closer this method comes to being a LeBron-type scenario.

As much as we all here love and support Peyton, there comes a time when the lack of a decision hints of manipulation and the lable from Jim Irsay which most bristled Peyton, that he was a "politician" begins to ring true.

By now, Peyton SHOULD have all the information he needs to make a choice. Further delay only tries the patience of his fans....including me.

I'll relay your concerns to Peyton..... I am sure he is sorry to hold you up with his decision.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to orangesheep:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ah, Peyton is from New Orleans, Louisiana NOT Tennessee. You should know that by now.

voloffaith writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Do you guys really think that Peyton will be sending his kids to public schools?I'm sure there are good private schools in San Francisco since it is one of the most expensive cities in the United States to live in. Hopefully he is less homophobic and a little more cultured most of the people on this board.

Wow my resume is growing..I've gone from Prejudiced/racist to that with homophobic and not like milk...uncultured. Jeepers why would I want my child taught by a homosexual/lesbian when it is well known in that city they have their agenda at the forefront. Teaching lil johnny that he can have 2 mommies or two daddies all under the same roof.
Well documented the extreme liberal leanings in the classrooms out there.....So why would I as a parent want a say in what is taught in the classroom that conflicts with what I believe is a more accurate picture of the normal,God-intended design. OK now you can go off on me if it will make you feel better. Some things don't change with the times as they don't have to morph to meet society where it is or has sunk to...

ON TOPIC, is it Titans? Is it Broncos? Is it 49ers? "Who can it be now???"

DonK37920 writes:

in response to voloffaith:

It ain't called the left coast for nothing....Ummmm..ahhh.. yes ..Barbara Boxer, Ms. Pelosi...yes stability is in the air...insane court system that convicts insurance agent for "theft" in selling a senior an annuity and cd where she makes money...really google it. Sorry, I said nothing bad about God's beautiful creation amidst the smog areas. Only the leftist mindset that pervades the area....

I've actually lived in California and my original objection was that you play to stereotypes more than actual experiences. If you actually live away from the south for a while, you gain a new perspective and learn not to harbor all the stereotypes that are ingrained into your thinking.
I can't stand Pelosi or Boxer either and I attended one of the largest Christian churches in the country when I lived there. It's all about who you surround yourself with in life not where you are. If stereotypes were the rule of the day, then Tennessee would have no indoor plumbing and all the roads would be made of dirt.

voloffaith writes:

in response to DonK37920:

I've actually lived in California and my original objection was that you play to stereotypes more than actual experiences. If you actually live away from the south for a while, you gain a new perspective and learn not to harbor all the stereotypes that are ingrained into your thinking.
I can't stand Pelosi or Boxer either and I attended one of the largest Christian churches in the country when I lived there. It's all about who you surround yourself with in life not where you are. If stereotypes were the rule of the day, then Tennessee would have no indoor plumbing and all the roads would be made of dirt.

You mean like thay say on eSpn that we be traylur trashh....

Central_IL_Vol writes:

in response to voloffaith:

It ain't called the left coast for nothing....Ummmm..ahhh.. yes ..Barbara Boxer, Ms. Pelosi...yes stability is in the air...insane court system that convicts insurance agent for "theft" in selling a senior an annuity and cd where she makes money...really google it. Sorry, I said nothing bad about God's beautiful creation amidst the smog areas. Only the leftist mindset that pervades the area....

You forgot about the top LOON in California, Jerry Brown. This idiot could not gete elected to a city council seat in any other state; he is a complete MORON!

What goes on in the privacy of ones home is their business; but this is just pure and simple IDIOCY! Brown signed a bill last year that requires public schools in California to teach about gay persons, not because of a historical significance, but because of their contribution to the gay community.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cali...

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-07-14/us...

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Manning will be a bronco per NFL network.

jack090 writes:

It's funny how everyone is comparing TN to San Fran. If TN wasn't good enough for Manning why did he and his wife go there for college? Manning is from the South so making the irrational arguments about schools and children etc... is ridiculous. It's about being winning a super bowl and/or money.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Manning will be a bronco per NFL network.

Just saw it myself... boo!

DiegoVol writes:

in response to DonK37920:

I've actually lived in California and my original objection was that you play to stereotypes more than actual experiences. If you actually live away from the south for a while, you gain a new perspective and learn not to harbor all the stereotypes that are ingrained into your thinking.
I can't stand Pelosi or Boxer either and I attended one of the largest Christian churches in the country when I lived there. It's all about who you surround yourself with in life not where you are. If stereotypes were the rule of the day, then Tennessee would have no indoor plumbing and all the roads would be made of dirt.

I have lived in California for the past 15 years. California is so far left you cant get much farther.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to FearTheVols1252:

Just saw it myself... boo!

Yeah, don't care much for the Broncos myself. It is what it is I guess, time to move on. Kinda hoping the Titans just go ahead and start Jake Locker now. Hassleback was wildly inconsistent last year. He would have a 350 yard game then throw for 150 and 3 picks the very next week. Those bad games he had were the difference in them making the playoffs. Go with the youngster and see what happens IMO.

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