Peyton Manning seriously considered signing for the Washington Redskins instead of the Denver Broncos following the 2011 season.
At least that's how Broncos general manager and president of football operations John Elway remembers things.
Manning missed all of 2011 because of a neck injury that ultimately resulted in the Indianapolis Colts parting ways with "The Sheriff" before the club selected quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Manning admitted to The Athletic that he visited with then-Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan before putting pen to paper on a deal with the Broncos:
"While I was in Denver, I had a little lull there before I left," Manning told The Athletic. "I went over to Mike Shanahan’s house and visited with Mike and Kyle Shanahan, and we sat in their den and watched film. Kyle went over their offense. I was really impressed with Kyle."
The Redskins completing a trade for the second pick of the draft, which the club used to land QB Robert Griffin III, help sway Manning away from Washington and toward Denver.
Shanahan spoke about the trade with The Athletic:
"I think Peyton was disappointed. Kyle and I were kind of surprised that he still wanted to meet with us. I can remember talking with Elway one time not too long ago, a few years ago. He said, 'Mike, do you realize that Peyton, I think, was going to go to your place? I think he really wanted to go to your place more than our place.' I said, 'Really? I didn’t know that.' And that came from John. I knew we were fairly close."
Those who followed Manning's only free-agency journey of his Hall-of-Fame career may struggle to believe he seriously considered joining the Redskins. Younger brother Eli was less than two months removed from winning the second title and second Super Bowl MVP award of his New York Giants tenure, and Peyton reportedly snubbed the San Francisco 49ers that offseason, in part, because he didn't want to face Eli in a playoff contest that wasn't a Super Bowl.
Peyton actively working to deny Eli of a division title or a postseason spot every fall seems out of the question eight years after the fact.
Besides, things worked out alright for Peyton, who set offensive records with the Broncos and then helped Denver win Super Bowl 50 in the final appearance of his NFL career.