Peyton Manning announced his retirement from the NFL years ago, but that hasn't stopped him from helping his former teams recruit, and land, some of the best players in the league.
Manning said Friday during his annual Manning Passing Camp that he advised Russell Wilson on his move to the Denver Broncos and Matt Ryan on his move to the Indianapolis Colts, according to NFL.com's Michael Baca:
"I talked to both of them kinda during the process and tried to be a resource as I try to be for all quarterbacks. For Matt in particular, he kind of mentioned that Atlanta was looking for possibly a trade and he was asking about Indy. I just kind of really liked that match. I thought it would be great for Matt in this second chapter for him, and I thought it would be really good for the Colts, who I think are really close and have a lot of pieces and just could really use a veteran leader. He and Frank Reich have really hit it off. And the same with Russell, right? It's a new chapter for him. Broncos fans and players are hungry—we've been in a little bit of a drought the past few years and it's time to get the Broncos back to where they're supposed to be."
Manning spent the first 13 years of his career with the Colts from 1998-2010, leading the franchise to a Super Bowl victory in 2007. He played for the Broncos from 2012 through the 2015 season, winning a Super Bowl with Denver in 2016.
The 46-year-old previously told the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran in April that he was advising Wilson on his transition to Denver, giving the signal-caller advice about what helped him when he joined the Broncos after a long career with the Colts.
Wilson was traded from the Seattle Seahawks to the Broncos in March. He had spent his entire 10-year career with the Seahawks, leading the franchise to a Super Bowl title in 2014, before heading to Denver.
When Wilson joined the Broncos in March, he told reporters that he intended to play 10-12 years in hopes of winning three or four more Super Bowls.
"If I was going to waive my no-trade clause, it has to be to a winning football team," Wilson said at the time. "These guys are winners back here. So I’m excited about it. It’s a winning locker room. It’s about the players. Obviously, it’s a great coaching staff and organization, but the players, we love getting it done, and that’s what I’m excited about."
As for Ryan, he spent the first 15 years of his career with the Atlanta Falcons before being traded to the Colts in March. While he never won a Super Bowl with the franchise, he led them to the championship game in 2017.
He told reporters after he was traded that Indianapolis "is exactly where I wanted to be." That said, it's no surprise he sought advice from Manning, who spent years with the franchise. The Colts will be hoping that advice helps the team win another Super Bowl.