Dec 9, 2010; Nashville,TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) calls the play at the line against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at LP Field. Indianapolis defeated Tennessee 30-28. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
KUSA - In a game of "we have what you wanted," Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will line up Sunday against the team that was in the running for star quarterback when he was being "recruited."
The Tennessee Titans were one of the Broncos' stiffest competitors in the Manning chase in March 2012 when he was on the market as a free agent.
Manning said Wednesday he enjoyed his time talking with the Titans organization, but the public nature of the process was difficult.
"It was just so not private. It was very public. It was definitely a load lifted off your shoulders once you could pick one place," said Manning, who likened the process to being recruited out of high school for college football. "When I got into the weight room here, that really felt like I could kind of go back to some normalcy and work."
Manning said the worst part was having teams "in limbo" while he was trying to come to a final decision, especially a month before the NFL draft. Manning also met with the San Francisco 49ers.
His father, Archie, played with Titans coach Mike Munchak when they overlapped in parts of the 1982 and 1983 seasons with the Houston Oilers.
"It happened fast. We knew it was going to be about 10 days, and we were right in there," Munchak said of the Manning lottery. "I think it was exciting. We knew getting someone like Peyton - he's a difference-maker. Look what's happened to Denver. He just makes the people around him better. They win, and that's exactly what [Titans owner] Mr. [Bud] Adams wanted. I got to know him very well."
Manning went with Denver and its five-year, $96 million offer, which included $58 million guaranteed.
"It was a difficult process," Manning said. "I really enjoyed the time I had with Titans organization. [I] enjoyed my time with Coach Munchak. They were first-class.
"I chose Denver, and I've worked every day to try to make it a good choice. I don't think there's ever a perfect decision in those kinds of scenarios."
Said Denver coach John Fox: "Let me tell you something - Peyton Manning is going to make whatever team he plays for better. We're just really happy that he's here."
Manning played at the University of Tennessee, which is a few hours from the Titans' Nashville home. And with the Colts and Titans in the AFC South Division, Manning has seen plenty of Tennessee. He is 13-5 against the Titans organization.
"For that week, it seemed like I talked to him every day, all day," Munchak said. "We felt we were right there. Hopefully after Sunday he'll wish he had been with us."
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