TORONTO - The Peyton Manning Tour de Farce is in a holding pattern.
It is Day 8, and Manning is thinking. All is quiet. No reporters chasing SUVs, no tweeting every time Manning takes a bathroom break from some high-level meeting, no rumors of flight paths to clandestine meetings with some general manager behind the first hydro pole west of the San Francisco city limits. Just silence. And, it could stay that way for a while as Manning plays his free agency as he does his football — unhurried, precise and with copious deliberation.
Since last week, he has flown from Miami to Indianapolis to Miami to Denver to Phoenix, back to Miami. On Wednesday, it was Nashville and Raleigh-Durham for eight hours with the Titans. His has been a dizzying pace. Tennessee owner Bud Adams says Manning “is the man I want. Period.”
To prove the point he has offered the former Hall of Famer a “lifetime contract”. They also announced Thursday the signing of guard Steve Hutchinson, one of Manning’s closest friends, to a three-year deal.
On the field, Tennessee could be a solid fit. The team features young talent on offence, with Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt, as well as an offensive line that was second in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed last season.
Off the field, Manning can return to the state where he was a college hero.
Arizona, Miami and Denver remain possibilities, but check Tim Tebow. The Titans, if he’s smiling, just might’ve moved to the top of Manning’s go-to list.
If this were an episode of Desperate Housewives, Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey would be scratching each other’s eyes out.
As it is, they’re in a nit-spitting, mud-slinging free-for-all that began with a report that Shockey wanted to return to the Giants. That lit the ire of Toomer, now an NBC analyst, but for six seasons a teammate of Shockey’s in New York.
On Thursday, Toomer wrote on Twitter that bringing back Shockey, who forced the Giants to trade him to the Saints in 2008 by insisting he wouldn’t play for them ever again, would be more trouble than he’s worth.
“No!! Shockey ‘I will never play4 you again!’ he yelled at jerry Reese in 08. Let him keep his word. Bad teammate, worse person,” Toomer wrote.
Fighting words. Shockey fired back with vitriol, saying of Toomer: “Yes remember when his ex divorced him and he urinated on a her cloths I guess he’s the good person,” Shockey wrote.
In 2007, Toomer’s divorce included an allegation from his ex-wife that Toomer acted “irrationally and outrageously” if she didn’t want to have sex, including once urinating on her clothes.
Shockey denied telling anyone he wants to return to the Giants. The rancorous exchange isn’t surprising. In his last game with the Giants, Shockey broke his fibula when Toomer rolled on to the back of his leg. “Well he was the lazy one that broke my leg!!” wrote Shockey, who has never forgiven Toomer for that incident.
Toomer has never been timorous. He doesn’t mind playing the wag, once calling Justin Tuck “Big Midget” and noting that Michael Strahan looked like he had antlers for teeth.
And, while it is reasonable to argue he could’ve found a better way to say it, Toomer is right about one thing: The Giants don’t need Shockey.
One of the premier guards on the free-agent market, Ben Grubbs, has left the Ravens to sign a five-year, $36 million contract with New Orleans.
The Saints grabbed the all-Pro lineman to fill the void left when Carl Nicks joined division rival Tampa.
“Ben comes to us from an offence that experienced a lot of success, both running the football and in pass protection. We believe that he can come right in and fit into our program without missing a beat,” Saints’ GM Mickey Loomis said.
Grubbs led the way for Ravens’ Ray Rice to run for 1,364 yards and a franchise record 15 TDs last year. Now he will protect record-setting passer Drew Brees, stepping into an imposing offensive line that includes all-Pro Jahri Evans and tackle Jermon Bushrod.
The Dolphins resigned tailback Steve Slaton to a one-year deal, but he faces competition in training camp from former CFL star Jerome Messam ... The Lions are on David Garrard’s shopping list. With Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton receiving interest from the Rams and Jets, respectively, Detroit may need a backup quarterback ... The Patriots and restricted slot receiver Danny Amendola are courting each other. The Patriots are also scheduled to host Anthony Gonzalez, another slot receiver, Friday ... Brandon Meriweather cancelled his visit with the Jets and instead signed with the Redskins, who needed secondary help after parting with Oshiomogho Atogwe and LaRon Landry ... With the Jets losing safety Brodney Pool, who signed with Dallas, they now may turn to Landry ... The Browns re-signed cornerback Dimitri Patterson to a three-year, $16-million contract ... “The 49ers would like to thank (cornerback) Shawntae (Spencer) for his eight years of service to the organization and the Bay Area community,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said Thursday in a statement. “He has always represented himself, his family and this organization with the utmost class.” And, then, they made him disappear. Released ... Cowboys signed linebacker Dan Connor, formerly of the Panthers. With the departure of Bradie James, he’ll team inside with Sean Lee.