Super Bowl notebook: Retirement not in plans for Manning ... yet
By Alan Robinson
Published: Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, 6:42 p.m.
NEW YORK — Jerome Bettis, John Elway and Ray Lewis retired after winning the Super Bowl. Might Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning do likewise if he wins his second NFL title, at age 37?
“I know that here have been a number of players who have walked away as champions. I'm sure that it is a great feeling for those people. John Elway, Ray Lewis did it last year, and Michael Strahan. In talking to Ray Lewis, and talking to John Elway, they couldn't play anymore. It was all they had to give,” Manning said. “(But) I still enjoy the preparation part of it, the work part of it. … I think as soon as I stop enjoying it, if I can't produce, if I can't help a team, that's when I will stop playing.
“If that's next year, then maybe it is. I certainly want to continue to keep playing.”
Their beards were the trademark of the Red Sox's World Series champions. Some Seahawks similarly are embracing facial hair — though none have yet gotten to the Brett Keisel stage.
“Yeah, we're trying to go less than ZZ Top. Just by a little bit though, I don't want to upstage them,” said center Max Unger, who is promising to shave postgame regardless of the result.
Seattle safety Earl Thomas might be the preeminent player at his position. But to emulate a Troy Polamalu or an Ed Reed, he said he must win the Super Bowl.
“You always look at guys who have had success in this league, and those guys were definitely the best at their position, and they have championships under their belt. So, definitely when my legacy is done, I want some championships. This is a great opportunity I want to cash in and take advantage of,” Thomas said.
Big apple memories
Pete Carroll is returning to the scene of his first firing as an NFL coach, by the Jets 20 years ago. He later was fired by the Patriots — he coached them just before Bill Belichick — but he has since won a national title with Southern Cal. And now he can win the Super Bowl with the Seahawks.
“I have thought about it quite a bit. It has come up in the week's preparation already. I've always loved playing in New York,” Carroll said. “I loved the fact that I had a chance to be here for five years. To have a chance to be a head coach in New York is an extraordinary honor because of the history and the following and all that goes along with that. Unfortunately, it didn't last very long.”
Six days out, the Accuweather forecast is a daytime high of 36, a nighttime low of 28 and a chance of snow showers for the first NFL championship game in New York in 52 years. The temperature isn't expected to get out of the 20s until Friday, so both teams are expected to practice indoors — the Seahawks at the Giants' facility, the Broncos at the Jets' complex.
Happy to be here
All coaches are thankful of getting to the Super Bowl. Broncos coach John Fox is thankful for more than that — he's simply glad he made it to Super Bowl week. He missed more than a month of the serious with a serious heart condition that put him in the hospital at midseason. He said he easily could have died.
“Just standing here feels pretty good because I almost wasn't,” said Fox, a former Steelers and Pitt assistant coach.
Broncos safety David Bruton said trying to confuse the Seattle offense won't be any more difficult than dealing with a bunch of 7-year-olds. During the NFL labor negotiations in 2011, he took a friend's advice and worked as a grade-school teacher.
“(He) said, ‘We know you love kids, why don't you pursue this?' I fell in love with it. Having the chance to be around the youth and help them grow and see the impact that I made in some way shape or form, it's cool,” Bruton said. “Second graders are definitely trying to be slick, they try to pull one over on you. I think that's the age where they develop the sense that, ‘Oh, it's a substitute teacher, I can pull one over on him.”
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