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Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Titans hosting Steve Hutchinson

By Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter
ESPN

As Tennessee plots its push for free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning, the Titans are hosting a visit from former Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson on Tuesday.

One goal of signing Hutchinson would be to make Tennessee even more appealing to Manning, who is close to the guard from the time they've spent together at multiple Pro Bowls in Hawaii.

But Hutchinson was on the Titans' radar even before the Manning pursuit began, as they want to beef up the interior line with a veteran leader. Hutchinson is close to Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, as well, from their days together in Seattle.

Titans coach Mike Munchak left the Titans' headquarters just before noon Tuesday and headed to the Nashville airport to pick up Hutchinson. Munchak returned with the veteran guard within the hour and drove past reporters without speaking.

Hutchinson, who played with Minnesota last year, is a five-time first-team All-Pro and a player who could boost the offensive line for the Titans. Tennessee ranked 31st in rushing last year, averaging 89.9 yards per game. Chris Johnson had a career-low 1,047 yards.

The Titans also were preparing to make a major run at Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams, but the organization has shifted its focus to Manning, a league source said.

Meanwhile, despite speculation that the Texans could make a run at Manning, the team has no plans to pursue him, team owner Bob McNair confirmed Tuesday.

McNair said the Texans are committed to Matt Schaub, who played in 10 games last season before breaking his right foot, and want to re-sign outside linebacker Mario Williams.

Manning met with Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and other staff members for roughly five or six hours Monday night in Indianapolis, according to sources.

He was expected to meet with Munchak and a number of Titans offensive assistants Tuesday or Wednesday, sources said.

Munchak, a Hall of Fame guard, was a teammate of Manning's father, Archie, during the 1982 and 1983 seasons with the Houston Oilers.

"I want Manning," Titans owner Bud Adams told The Tennessean Sunday. "I'd love to see him in Titan blue after watching him so many years with the Colts. ... I want him. I am ready to do what it takes to get him aboard, and I think he'd be the guy to get us into the playoffs."

With most of the non-Manning business apparently completed, Munchak rolled out of the Titans' facility at 7:50 p.m. wearing a sport coat and waved to reporters -- but again, did not stop to talk.

Reporters staked out across the street from the Titans' facility all day weren't there for Hutchinson or any other free agent, and everyone knew it. People driving by slowed down and asked for updates on Manning.

One jogger asked, "They signing Peyton?" as he ran past.

The Titans already have Hasselbeck, signed to a three-year contract last July, and Jake Locker, picked with the No. 8 overall selection in the 2011 draft. But Hasselbeck is due $5.5 million in salary this year after getting a chunk of his deal last season.

Manning, who already has met with the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals, has continued to rehab his shoulder and neck.

He is expected to resume his throwing regimen -- most likely at Duke University, where he threw last week -- while he analyzes his free-agent choices, with no apparent deadline in place to make a decision, a source added.

Chris Mortensen is ESPN's senior NFL analyst. Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.