It looks like John Elway has landed the big fish he sought after all along. Reports surfaced on Monday that Peyton Manning has picked his next team, the Denver Broncos. Although there hasn’t been a single ‘t’ crossed or ‘i’ dotted on a contract at this point for Manning, his agent has started the negotiating process. Needless to say the Mile High City is gushing over the news of landing quite possibly the biggest free agent in NFL history if No.18 is back to playing shape. (Editor’s note: There is a 3 pm EST press conference today (Tuesday March 20th) to announce the official signing).
You can add former Broncos Hall of Fame tight end, Shannon Sharpe, as a huge proponent of the signing. Sharpe praises his former quarterback, which he won two Super Bowls with for his salesmanship. Shannon Sharpe joined 102.3 the Ticket in Denver with Les & Jojo to discuss Peyton Manning choosing to negotiate with the Denver Broncos, the credibility Peyton Manning brings to the Broncos locker room, free agents being more attracted to the Broncos because of Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow’s future with the Broncos.
How big of a move is this to get Peyton Manning?
“Well I was looking at the feed as I was coming on and hearing Adam Schefter, clearly this is the biggest thing to happen in Denver since the Super Bowl XXXIII victory over the Atlanta Falcons. I mean to get a guy of this magnitude to come to your organization. I think it speaks volumes to what John Elway was able to sell. It speaks volumes to the type of ownership of Pat Bowlen. Mr.Bowlen is great, but I haven’t played for a lot of owners. I’ve only played for 2, but it would be hard for me to find one any better than Pat Bowlen. He’s been great to me. He’s been great to those fans and he’s always had one thing in the forefront: I want to win. People say he is stingy and doesn’t spend a lot of money, but when it comes to winning he will spare no expense.”
Tell me what a guy like Peyton Manning brings to the locker room? Tell me what a guy like John Elway brings to the locker room?
“Insta-cred-ability. He got a 7th round draft pick. He got him in a gold jacket. He got an undrafted wide receiver to have the most catches, touchdowns and yards in the history of the Broncos. He took a 6th round running back got him a Super Bowl MVP, a league MVP, 2,000 yard rush seasons. That’s what that guy does instantly. Eric Decker is better. Demaryius Thomas is better. Everybody is better on that team.
Their defense just got better. Their defense was middle of the pack?
You watch because now they will be playing with a lead. I am not talking about the last 2 minutes of the game. I am talking about early on because he will put pressure on the opposing team. They are going to score some points now. Willis McGahee will never run into an 8-man front again ever.”
For a free agent how much better looking did the Denver Broncos just get?
“I’m a skill position player or a tight end? Hey I am on the phone with my agent saying hey see if the Broncos have any interest in me! If I’m a defensive lineman? If I am one of those defensive players? Say the Broncos need a linebacker or need a safety or a corner? Oh it was fun playing because playing with John [Elway] you take things…unless you have ever played with a great quarterback you don’t understand what it’s like to play for a great quarterback. See I knew wherever John put the ball. When John threw the ball if I stayed up with John and he threw the ball to the right he was telling me, ‘Shannon go to the right.’ If he put the ball between my numbers and I was staying? He was telling me to get up in my shadows. You take that for granted because you are like okay.
Now you play with somebody else and throw the ball to the other side and you get your face mask twisted because he threw you towards where the defensive guy was. Great quarterbacks see everything. They ask that you care as much about the game as much as they do. That was my thing. When I went onto the football field with number seven I knew that he knew what the defense was that they were going to give him. I use to know that also. I needed to know 2nd-and-4 or 2nd-and-5, this is the defense they like to play. Now you might write something else, but you wasn’t going to fool Shannon Sharpe and John Elway, about the defense we saw over-and-over again on tape.”
Do you believe the Broncos should keep Tim Tebow and if not is there a ‘safe’ landing spot for him?
“I don’t know how he can play because he is so totally different then what Peyton Manning does. Peyton Manning is cerebral and playing with the guy that studies and studies and studies and studies and studies. I can assure you come game-day it’s about football. There’s no extracurricular. There’s no and the Make-A-Wish Foundation and all these things that Tim Tebow does are worthy causes, but the one thing I will tell you about all great players: come Sunday I can ask John for a lot of things, but come Sunday I didn’t bother John until after the game. If I wanted him to sign something, I don’t think in my 14 years in playing with John I got one thing signed from John Elway. I never bothered him on game-day.
Now I still joked around and he could always see where I was, but I always made sure because he knew my personality and I knew his personality. He would get into his mood and all throughout the week we would joke, but it was a great time. In class I was the class clown. He knew that. He respected me. He knew I was going to be ready to play. I knew him. I knew what he was about, but Peyton Manning is all football. He is the greatest guy you could ever meet. He reminds me a lot of John, but in September until January? If it doesn’t involve football he doesn’t have a whole lot of time for you.”