Fans lobby for Manning to choose Titans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
Still, Titans' fans of the NFL's only four-time MVP expecting the injured QB to be released and healthy enough to play are starting an ad campaign in Indianapolis hoping to convince Manning to return to Tennessee.
''It's kind of evident to the sports world they're going to let Peyton go, they're not going to pay him the money that he's due and he's going to be a free agent,'' Todd Mayo said Monday. ''All the sports talk guys are saying he could go to Arizona and Washington and every place but Tennessee. We've got a young quarterback here at the Titans.
''If you could upgrade your team with the caliber of Peyton, why would you not?''
Mayo said he and his brother, Griffin, spent the weekend designing the website www.comehomepeyton.com and recorded a couple parody songs, including one to the Eminem hit ''Lose Yourself.''
The site went live Monday and had generated $700 in donations by midday. A 30-second commercial is planned for an Indianapolis radio station during the Super Bowl.
''Call it fan-vertising if you will, but kind of a concept to put the power in the fans' hands and let Peyton know how much he's wanted in the state of Tennessee for the Titans,'' Mayo said. ''Of course, he played at Tennessee. I'm from Memphis, went to school at Tennessee in Knoxville and live in Nashville ... I love Tennessee, and it's kind of one of those things you would like to affect positive change from the power of fans coming together.''
Mayo works at a Nashville advertising agency and already has priced billboards and ads. He hopes to solicit enough donations to place eight digital billboards in Indianapolis along with ads on TV and radio and in the local newspaper. If enough money comes in, Mayo said billboards and ads in Houston where Titans owner Bud Adams lives are a possibility to help persuade him to make a move for Manning.
Manning remains very popular in Tennessee where many children are named Peyton after the quarterback by parents who still wear his Volunteers' jersey or his Colts' No. 18. Manning is due $28 million from the Colts on March 8 after missing the 2011 season following his third neck surgery.
Mayo said life and football are about risks and rewards. He sees this as a rare chance that the Titans shouldn't pass on to team Manning with running back Chris Johnson, receiver Kenny Britt and a strong offensive line.
''He's probably the most famous Tennessean since Davy Crockett,'' Mayo said. ''All of this seems to be a perfect storm, one of those Disney-type movies. I would certainly hope it would have a Disney-type ending. You never know with injuries, but why wouldn't you do everything you can to further along as a fan ... to at least send a message.''
Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker