Adams' interest in Manning a surprise

March, 11, 2012
3/11/12
8:12
PM ET
The last time Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams forced a quarterback on his brain trust, things didn’t pan out so well.

“VY is my guy,” wound up causing all sorts of acrimony in team headquarters as Vince Young's tenure was an overall failure.

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
Jim Brown/US PresswireWould Peyton Manning fit in as the Titans' starting quarterback? Owner Bud Adams believes so.
But Adams’ declaration Sunday to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean that he wants Peyton Manning — despite team brass indicating strongly it wouldn’t pursue him — could be an entirely different story.

Adams said he’s spoken with Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, to make his intentions clear. Team president Mike Reinfeldt and general manager Mike Webster will surely now do all they can to help execute their boss’ wishes.
“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.”

Adams indicated no decision on if a visit’s been made, but seems to believe Manning is willing to listen provided he believes Reinfeldt and Webster are in line with the owners’ desires.

Those extend beyond Manning’s playing days.

“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.”

There has long been speculation in Tennessee that Manning could be involved in Titans’ management or even ownership in the years to come, in large part because while succession plans are in place for the aging Adams, there is no one in his family lined up to take over his role. His grandson works in the front office, but isn’t too long out of college.

So, are the Titans the mystery team many suggested would emerge in the Manning sweepstakes?

It seems like.

The team isn’t too far away from being good.

And there are reasons Manning would consider it: Coach Mike Munchak and offensive coordinator Chris Palmer are flexible types who would be easy to work with. Pass protection was excellent for Matt Hasselbeck last season. Running back Chris Johnson has rebounding to do but would benefit from an improved passing game. A healthy Kenny Britt could be a big threat for Manning. Nate Washington, Jared Cook and Damian Williams could make for a pretty good core of options to throw to.

The defense is a work in progress, but if the Titans can find one special pass-rusher, it could be primed to make a significant jump.

Would Manning be averse to two games a year against the Colts? I don’t think he’d mind taking on his old team. But considering the feelings he expressed for Indianapolis and its fans, the idea of going back regularly to play as a guest in Lucas Oil Stadium could factor in and hurt Adams’ bid.

One other thing to consider here: With Denver and Arizona emerging as favorites for Manning’s services, just when did Adams make his feelings known to Condon? If it was days ago, OK, they could be in it. If he was late, things could have been far enough along that the Titans have a minimal chance. Maybe Adams knows he can’t get Manning, but realizes he can curry favor with his team’s fans by coming out and saying he wants him. When Manning winds up playing for someone else, the Titans can say they tried.

What if they try and succeed?

With a healthy Manning in place, the Titans could certainly challenge the Texans for AFC South supremacy and leave a bunch of teams like the Broncos, Cardinals and Dolphins scrambling for quarterback answers. One of them would likely wind up with Hasselbeck.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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