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Unsaddled

Still unsigned Manning ponders start of Colts career

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Posted: Tuesday July 21, 1998 02:27 AM

  Manning plans to live in Tennessee when he's not playing football, and he will be a commercial spokesman for First Tennessee Bank Craig Melvin/Allsport

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- Peyton Manning said Monday he doesn't know yet when he will be playing for the Indianapolis Colts since there is a chance he won't reach a deal before training camp opens Thursday.

"Obviously I would like to [have a contract by then]," Manning said after announcing an endorsement deal with Tennessee's largest bank. "But there is a chance [there won't be]. No question about it."

He said the Colts have made an offer and he and his agent Tom Conlon have made a counteroffer. He wouldn't reveal details.

"Like I said all along, I hope it gets done. But it is an important decision and it is one that needs to be done right," the former University of Tennessee quarterback said.

"People don't understand. It is not a one-year deal. It is a long-term deal. ... I have waited 22 years to get to this point."

Delays raise the specter of a holdout and possible repercussions for a rookie quarterback pegged as the next starter.

"That is something that you just can't worry about," he said. "Once the deal is completed, you go in there and you pick up where you left off and work really hard. And I think I will be ready when the time comes."

Manning said he has absorbed as much as the Colts have thrown at him. "Everything they have taught me I feel like I know it well."

What he does know is where he'll be in the offseason.

Manning said he will live in Tennessee when he's not playing football, and he will be a commercial spokesman for First Tennessee Bank, Tennessee's largest bank.

The New Orleans native said he will make Tennessee his "principal residence" in the off-season. Specifically, he has a lot picked out in the planned "Thunder Farms" development in Ooltewah near Chattanooga.

Chattanooga businessman John "Thunder" Thornton is behind the venture. A big Tennessee booster, Thornton once paid $1 million to run with the players through the "T" formed by the marching band in Neyland Stadium.

First Tennessee, a Memphis-based bank with $16 billion in assets, tabbed Manning to promote its products and public service activities, including a "Lesson Line" service for schools that lets students get their homework assignments by phone.

Manning said he has banked with First Tennessee ever since he arrived on campus as a freshman.

"First Tennessee really treated me with respect and consideration then and continues to do that," he said. "Obviously, things have changed financially for me now, and I will need a lot more advice and a lot more products."

 

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Manning explains why he hasn't signed a contract yet (364 K)
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