The 49ers tried to lean on then-defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s familiarity with Peyton Manning as a recruitment tool when they, the Titans and Broncos were finalists for the then-free agent’s services, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Fangio, the Bears’ current DC and then the 49ers’ defensive boss, was the Colts’ defensive coordinator under Jim Mora from 1999-01 and recalled the back-and-forths he had with the wunderkind quarterback during their time in Indianapolis. The two would verbally jostle in practices if Manning felt the defense was playing the wrong coverage, and Fangio would counter that the practices weren’t geared only to Manning success.
Fangio thought a 49ers talented defense that had the team on the cusp of Super Bowl XLVI the season prior would be the then-36-year-old quarterback’s ticket to another championship.
“When we were talking to him about coming to the 49ers,” Fangio told Branch, “I told him we’d let him win in practice if he signed.”
Manning will play in the 49ers’ stadium Sunday, doing so in a non-preseason setting for the first time since since joining the Broncos.
Here’s the latest from around the league as the Pro Bowl’s conclusion leaves just one game remaining in the 2015 season.
- Trent Baalke still sees a place for ex-rugby standout Jarryd Hayne on the 49ers even after a regime change, Michael Chammas of the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald reports. “[Chip Kelly is] excited to get his hands on him, the whole coaching staff is. We’ll find out in short order who fits and who doesn’t fit,” Baalke told Chammas. The Sydney-based reporter notes Hayne’s 2016 season will determine if he returns to the National Rugby League after that, with the 28-year-old being waived by the 49ers last season and re-signed to the team’s practice squad. “I think that there were enough signs that he was still ways away in respect to development, that we felt there was a good chance he would make it through waivers and we’d be able to put him on our practice,” Baalke said of the soon-to-be-28-year-old running back.
- Ryan Clady earlier today said he’d be willing to rework his contract to help the Broncos, which would increase his chances of being on the team for a ninth season. Entering his age-30 campaign off of two season-ending injuries in three seasons, Clady intimated to Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press he’s ready for offseason work after undergoing surgery in June 2015, but said the Broncos may want him to skip OTAs to be ready for training camp. A former first-team All-Pro, Clady tore his ACL during OTAs last season, prompting the Broncos to sign current left tackle Ryan Harris as an emergency replacement.
- The NFL doesn’t see Oakland coming up with a viable stadium plan in the near future, Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News tweets. The Raiders are scouring the Pacific Time Zone for other avenues and haven’t discussed a new stadium since the owners’ meetings Jan. 12.
- Sam Bradford faces a complex decision on whether to return to the Eagles, and the Texans will be their primary competition, should the seventh-year former No. 1 overall pick reach free agency, the Philadelphia Daily News writes. Paul Domowitch writes the Kelly trade target will depart due to the Texans having a superior defense and Doug Pederson‘s arrival negating the familiarity edge for the Eagles, while John Smallwood notes the Broncos could be in play, should they decide Brock Osweiler won’t be enough to keep them in the Super Bowl conversation. Overall, 11 of the 19 Daily News staffers polled, however, indicated Bradford would be back on the Eagles in ’16.