Duke football coach David Cutcliffe says Peyton Manning is throwing at ”game pace” and the Tennessee Titans could be next to see for themselves.
After spending eight hours meeting with Tennessee executives on Wednesday, Manning is expected to work out for the Titans — possibly as early as Saturday.
Manning worked out at Duke for Denver on Friday and San Francisco on Tuesday night. The quarterback wasn’t seen Saturday in North Carolina, where he has been rehabbing in North Carolina.
There were only a couple cars parked in the Titans’ gated lot at their Nashville headquarters, though people driving by Saturday slowed down to look for any signs of action.
In Knoxville where Manning played collegiately, reporters found the doors locked and the lights off at the University of Tennessee’s indoor practice field. That didn’t stop several fans from hanging around, hoping to see something of the Volunteers’ legend.
After Duke’s football scrimmage Saturday, Cutcliffe — who was Manning’s offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee — said the quickness of Manning’s release has impressed him.
”He never ceases to amaze me,” Cutcliffe said.
The Volunteers held their Pro Day on Friday, so some Titans’ officials and scouts might have been in attendance. Team officials, who have declined to comment about Manning since owner Bud Adams declared he wanted the quarterback, had nothing to say Saturday.
Manning might have had other plans on Saturday as well. He married his wife, Ashley, on St. Patrick’s Day in 2001 in Memphis.
The Titans, Broncos and 49ers appear to be the three finalists for Manning, the top free agent this year despite a string of neck surgeries that kept him from playing in 2011.
Manning, who turns 36 on March 24, threw for Hall of Fame QB turned Broncos executive John Elway along with Denver coach John Fox on Friday in a workout that lasted a little under two hours. When it was over, Elway seemed convinced that Manning is still Manning.
”We enjoyed visiting with Peyton today in N.C.,” Elway wrote on his Twitter account. ”He threw the ball great and looked very comfortable out there.”
A few minutes later, Elway posted: ”Watching him throw today was the next step in this important process for our team and Peyton. It was a productive visit and went well.”
Whether San Francisco executives and coaches feel the same way, they aren’t saying. But they also have shown interest in the man who led Indianapolis to a Super Bowl victory in 2007. A person familiar with the situation said Manning worked out for 49ers’ coach Jim Harbaugh on Tuesday night at Duke. ESPN first reported on the session. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made about the 49ers’ workout.
San Francisco CEO Jed York also may want to make his own pitch along with general manager Trent Baalke, trying to sway Manning to sign with the 49ers.
Manning met with the Titans for about eight hours on a plane and at the team’s facility, a session that featured a 90-minute visit from team doctor Burton Elrod. Only Adams has talked this week, and he told a Nashville TV station he believes Manning will be making a quick decision.
Cutcliffe’s impressions of Manning’s arm at this stage adds more intrigue for teams chasing the quarterback.
”He’s throwing the ball well, and he’ll get better,” Cutcliffe said.