Another Friday, another week of NFL news and rumors. And this week certainly had no shortage of news and rumors to talk about. Especially when it came to one Peyton Manning. Holy cow…I could’ve a ten page article on the turn that Manning has taken over the past week or so. In fact, it’s enough that I’ll skip the normal pleasantries and just get right to it.
More from Kansas City Chiefs News
- Former Chiefs cornerback in legal trouble in Las Vegas
- Chiefs news: Travis Kelce wants to host fan ‘chug-off’ in Germany
- KC Chiefs send Dave Merritt to NFL coaching accelerator
- Creed Humphrey lands on PFF’s Top 25 Under 25 list
- Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams prove themselves away from star quarterbacks
Lead Story: What Will Peyton Manning’s Legacy Be?
Despite winning the Super Bowl, February has largely been a month that Peyton Manning may not want to remember. After being accused of receiving shipments of HGH in a story from Al-Jazeera, things have seemingly spiraled out of control in terms of public perception for Manning. Even his Super Bowl victory has been a bit overshadowed by all of the calls for him to retire. And that’s really not even close to being the worst of it.
I’ll start with the actual football-based part of this. Virtually everyone seems to be of the opinion that Manning needs to retire right now. Not even an hour had passed before teammates were calling for him to “ride into the sunset”. His father, Archie Manning, was questioned about it but wouldn’t go so far as to say Peyton would retire, though he indicated that his time in Denver was likely done.
As for Manning himself, he seems to be the only one keeping a level head about the situation, stating he would give it a couple weeks to make a decision. This isn’t unexpected. Manning is definitely at the NFL retirement age, and does have the story book ending that almost all players want. But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang ’em up just yet.
The HGH story is a different monster altogether. Many people felt that Manning was vindicated when Al-Jazeera in America (the branch of the worldwide news agency based here in the US) went under. Of course, that had virtually nothing to do with the Manning story, but it was convenient timing for the narrative. However, the story didn’t quite go away…and Manning has himself to blame. The NFL announced that they would do a probe into the charges, though many believed that would only be a toke gesture.
Manning, however, apparently decided to take his own actions by hiring former White House advocate Ari Fleischer as well as private investigators who are now accused of harassing the family of the original source (Charles Sly) of the HGH story. A 9-1-1 tape has emerged in which the investigators can be heard claiming to be law enforcement agents. Sly was contacted by investigators working for Manning in the past…six days before he recanted his story about the HGH.
And finally, the most recent story…despite actually being 20 years old…involves Peyton Manning and a number of other football players from the University of Tennessee being named in a sexual assault lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Manning took part in an act of “teabagging” a female team trainer. However, it should be noted that the incident involving Manning is being described as an example, and that the woman involved, Jamie Ann Naughright, is not a party in the case.
But Naughright has had her past legal battles with Manning. She originally looked for legal action with the case, but settled out of court in an agreement that required her to leave her job with the school. She then pressed for legal actions again after Manning wrote about the incident in his book, where he talks about the incident, but seemingly places the blame on Naughright while describing his actions as “harmless”.
All in all, the Manning legacy is certainly being challenged. After having worked so long to get the “big game let down” monkey off his back, it certainly has to be draining to now face these kinds of claims off the field. At the very least, his image as the squeaky clean, “aw shucks,” country boy is certainly in question. More than likely though, these stories will fall to the wayside, as is often the case for star quarterbacks (see: Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Favre).
Is he at fault in either, or both, of these cases? While it can’t be said for certain, there is definitely plenty of evidence to suggest that there is a whole lot more to Peyton Manning than insurance jingles and terrible pizza.
Next: Percy Harvin out in Buffalo?