Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli held a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon and to no one's surprise much of it was spent talking about Peyton Manning. The Chiefs were one of the teams interested in Manning and for the first time Pioli talked about the team's pursuit of the former Indianapolis Colts QB.
I'll have more nuggets coming but a few quick-hitters on Manning from Pioli:
Pioli confirmed that he talked to Peyton Manning. And his agent. He said they communicated, specifically mentioning email at one point, but that Manning had a plan in his free agency process.
"He and I were in communication with each other as we were with his agent," Pioli said. "Clearly, he had a plan and he let me know that. He didn't get into the details. I don't think that's really his place to. He was up front about what he was doing and some of the visits he wanted to take and how we were initially not going to be part of that. I have a lot of respect for Peyton.
So why didn't Manning sign with the Chiefs? "He had a plan," Pioli said again. "He executed it. He never explained to me, nor did I ask."
"His plan doesn't necessarily mean that the other 28 teams that he wasn't going to talk to that there was anything wrong with them," Pioli said of Manning. "He just had his favorites."
Pioli also said that Matt Cassel and others were aware of their pursuit of Manning. Pioli said they made Cassel aware of their Manning interest before anything took place and Cassel was aware of everything.
"I dont want to talk too much about Matt and I's conversation but he was aware of it before, during and after of where we were at," Pioli said. "Matt is aware that there is going to be competition, whether that competition is Ricky and Brady, or Peyton Manning, he knew. There's no reason for us to hide anything. Petyon was available, we were interested and Matt knew about that and it's not like it was going to be something that you hide. Without geting into the details of our conversation, he's unaffected by it and that's what great competitiors do."
Pioli said he didn't feel a greater pressure to sign Manning after Clark Hunt publicly indicated the team's interest. Hunt went on CNBC shortly before Manning's initial visit to Denver and said the Chiefs are interested in him. Pioli was asked if that put more pressure on him to sign Manning.
"Obviously Clark and I talked about it. This was Romeo, myself, Clark and the coaching staff and a lot of people involved. I don't know if I felt a greater responsibility because we were all already on the same page. He was someone who we wanted to talk to. We talked to some of our players about it. They knew we were going to be pursuing this as well but I didn't feel a greater responsibility or obligation [because of what Clark said].
"Truthfully, I feel a great responsibility to not only ownership but the coaching staff and anyone who is an employee or a fan. I have that obligation on a daily basis to do things, or try to do things...this is obviously someone we wanted to talk to. I have a responsibitiy to get things done to improve this football team and that's part of it. Clark and I were on the same page, as were the other people in the organization."
The Chiefs never saw Manning throw. Not a surprise. We could assume that. Pioli said he never saw "with his own eyes" that Manning was healthy and could throw the ball well.