ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Peyton Manning is three touchdown throws shy of 500 for his career and a dozen short of surpassing Brett Favre for the most in NFL history.
Marvin Harrison caught the most (112), and 12 players have caught one TD pass from the five-time MVP.
Manning is famous for his memory – his former coach, Tony Dungy, calls it ”his No. 1 asset. He is so smart, he’s got such a great memory, such great recall.”
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So, it wasn’t a surprise this week to hear Manning rattle off the names of some of the 44 players who have been on the receiving end of his TD throws.
”Believe it or not, I found a few minutes to think about some of them,” Manning said Wednesday. ”Marvin had like 113 of them or something, 112, yeah. A guy named Trevor Insley, he caught one. Of course, Mitch Unrein would be that category.”
Unrein is among the current Broncos who have caught TD passes from Manning, a group that features Demaryius Thomas (25), Julius Thomas (16), Wes Welker (10), Jacob Tamme (8) and Bubba Caldwell (3).
Unrein’s is probably the most unlikely name of all.
Denver’s defensive tackle lined up at fullback on Dec. 2, 2012, slipped into the left flat on first-and-goal from the 1 and hauled in Manning’s floater to help the Broncos beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23.
”It’s still kind of a shock to me that I have a touchdown from Peyton,” Unrein said Wednesday. ”I mean, I felt honored, playing with a Hall of Fame player like that and getting to score a touchdown from one of the best ever.”
Just then, defensive end Derek Wolfe walked past and razzed Unrein.
”You’re still talking about your touchdown?” Wolfe said. ”That was two years ago.”
”He asked me about it,” retorted Unrein, who called the TD the highlight of his career, save perhaps for making it to the Super Bowl last season.
”Luckily, I didn’t drop it,” Unrein said. ”I didn’t have very much time to get nervous, but I was definitely thinking about it a little bit before the snap. It happened so fast.”
Unrein spiked the ball, then immediately chased it down.
”I kept it and had Peyton sign it,” Unrein said.
As if reading from a script, Manning ticked off not only names but the plays of some of his TD throws over his 17-year career.
”There was a tight end named Mike Roberg in there, Tom Santi, Lamont Warren. I have not seen Mike Roberg in quite a long time, I’ll say that. Tom Santi from Virginia. Gijon Robinson,” Manning said.
”The scary thing is I can actually remember the touchdown. Gijon Robinson caught – a goal-line naked against New England in New England. Fake bootleg left, roll right, wide open because nobody thought we would be throwing it to Gijon Robinson.”
Manning shook his head as if trying to rattle the memories from his mind.
”I can’t remember a lot of things, important things, but I have a lot of useless information,” Manning said with a chuckle. ”I can remember Trevor Insley caught a pass up the left sideline against Atlanta on a fake screen pass.”
He could go on he said, but he had some more preparation to get to for Sunday’s showdown at Seattle.
”So, that’s actually a very disturbing memory,” Manning said.
And just what did he have for breakfast, someone asked.
”Exactly,” Manning said. ”Couldn’t tell you.”
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