(Photos courtesy of the Denver Broncos)
Talk of Fame Network
Add another name to the list of those not convinced Peyton Manning will retire. Only this individual isn’t a coach, an opponent or an opinion maker.
It’s Manning’s favorite receiver.
No, we’re not talking about Demaryius Thomas. It’s Hall-of-Famer Marvin Harrison, who caught over 1,100 passes in his career – including an NFL-record 114 touchdowns from Manning – and who appeared on this week’s Talk of Fame Network broadcast.
When Harrison, a member of the Hall’s Class of 2016, was asked if he’d be shocked if Manning were to continue playing, he didn’t parse words – just as he didn’t when asked about Terrell Owens in the same broadcast.
“No, I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t (retire),” he said. “I would expect him to keep playing. This is my opinion: I would expect him to keep playing. If he does retire, I would be shocked. He just loves it.
“Everybody has a different opinion of where to go about every different year, but when his body says it’s time to stop I’m sure he’ll do the right thing for his health.”
(Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts)
Harrison stopped playing after the 2008 season and 13 years with the Colts -- departing weeks after coach Tony Dungy announced his retirement. Now the two are joined together again, this time in the same class in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Of course, Manning will re-join them one day, too, but first he must get on the clock. And to do that, he must quit the sport he’s played most of his life.
Harrison believes that won’t be easy.
“I didn’t really watch that many Denver games,” he said. “From my perspective, I was fortunate and I was happy that I played with one team. I probably could have (come) back and played a year or two somewhere else. But I decided I was dedicated to Indianapolis. And that’s where I wanted to end my career. And I was more than happy to walk away at that time.
“Peyton? He does his own thing. He’s a guy who loves football; he loves the game. This is what he lives for. So for him to continue … and the way things happened at Indianapolis … it happened for the best for Indianapolis, and it happened for the best for him. So that now that he’s played with Denver, like I say, this is what he wants to do. He wants to continue to play football.”
Harrison left the Colts in February, 2009, after asking the team for his release. The move was made after team owner Jim Irsay, who announced Harrison’s release in an emotional news conference, tried to convince the all-decade receiver to stay.
But Harrison could not be budged.
“I was more than thrilled to retire,” he told the Talk of Fame Network. “I was like: If this is it, I’m fine with it.
“Ironically, enough, when coach Dungy announced that he was retiring -- it was about three weeks later -- but when he said it, I was like: Man, what am I going to do without coach Dungy? That’s what I said to myself.
“Three weeks later, I was presented with leaving Indianapolis and should I continue to play. Everything just fell into place with me. I had one team … coach Dungy was leaving ... it was just perfect for me. I was more than happy to get home and go to practice with my two sons and be a part of their life and everyday activities. So that was perfect for me.”