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Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Is Denver losing ground in Manning chase?

By Bill Williamson

As the Denver Broncos wait to hear from Peyton Manning, the Tennessee Titans have emerged as a strong competitor for the superstar quarterback.

Manning, who is also considering the Cardinals and Dolphins, is meeting with the Titans’ brass and then he is expected to make a decision on his future. There has been recent chatter that Manning may be swayed to stay in the AFC South and play for the Titans. Wednesday, Manning’s former boss didn’t do anything to end that talk.

Former Indianapolis general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian said on "SportsCenter" that he thinks the Titans are the most logical landing spot for Manning. Polian cited that Manning and his wife, Ashley, have ties to the state. Manning was a legendary quarterback at the University of Tennessee.

So, location could be a big stumbling block for John Elway. This doesn’t mean Manning won’t be a Bronco, but the Titans may have an emotional edge. Whatever happens, I’m sure the Broncos want a resolution so they can proceed with the rest of their free-agency plan, regardless of the outcome of the Manning sweepstakes.

In other AFC West news:

ESPN Boston is reporting key San Diego backup safety Steve Gregory will visit New England on Wednesday. If Gregory gets a starting job, he will likely leave San Diego. Denver has also been linked to Gregory. The Chargers will likely look for help at safety in the draft.

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. believes the Chargers’ re-signing of center Nick Hardwick is a top under-the-radar signing.

Robert Meacham’s deal with the Chargers includes $100,000 in bonuses if he makes the Pro Bowl for each of the next two seasons.

The word is Oakland, Washington and New Orleans may be the early favorites to land Matt Leinart as a backup quarterback. Oakland’s connection is Leinart played for new Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Knapp in Houston. The Raiders are looking for a new backup.