Peyton Manning didn't know whether to characterize it as “pursuing” or “evaluating,” but the Broncos quarterback today described what seems like a thorough examination by the 49ers two years ago when he was a free agent.
“I enjoyed the time that I spent with the 49ers personnel, with the coach, general manager,” Manning said on a conference call. “I met with the doctor, and, you know, I don't know what the verb is, if it really matters. They’re a first-class organization and there's a reason why they're so successful.”
That Manning met with Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman has been well-reported. Manning, however, also twice indicated that he met with general manager Trent Baalke. Where did they meet?
“Ah, uh, I had some conversations with him on the phone,” Manning said.
Of course, the 49ers-Manning dalliance was big news at the tie because it seemed to indicate the 49ers were willing to move on from Alex Smith, who was coming off his 2011 playoff heroics. It was further sensationalized when Harbaugh spoke out about “phony” reports that the 49ers pursued Manning.
“I keep hearing it over and over,” Harbaugh said. “It’s silly and it’s untrue. It’s phony. Even the perception that we were pursuing. We were evaluating. I’ve said all along that Alex Smith has been our quarterback. There’s no scenario, other than Alex choosing to sign with another team, that we would consider him not as our quarterback.”
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.