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Titans' pitch made to Peyton Manning, QB leaves team HQ for flight back to North Carolina
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) ' A group of Tennessee Titans executives have returned to Nashville with Peyton Manning for a meeting with the free agent on the team's home turf.
Coach Mike Munchak, general manager Ruston Webster and chief operating officer Mike Reinfeldt landed Wednesday afternoon at Nashville International ' not John C. Tune airport as indicated on a flight plan ' after flying into Raleigh-Durham Airport to pick up Manning.
They returned to the team's headquarters where the Titans made their pitch to Manning.
Titans owner Bud Adams told WSMV-TV on Tuesday the executives were going to spend the day with Manning and about 6 hours after he arrived, Manning had not been seen leaving the Titans' facility. At 9:45 p.m. EDT, there were approximately 40 fans still gathered along the fence surrounding the facility hoping to get a glimpse of Manning.
Several team officials apparently met with Manning throughout the day, including Tennessee's team doctor, Burton Elrod. He spent 90 minutes at the team's headquarters during Manning's visit.
Munchak, Webster and Reinfeldt had arrived in North Carolina just before 1:30 p.m. EDT. Manning arrived at the airport riding in the backseat of black Escalade at 1:53 p.m. EDT, boarded the plane and the group headed back to Tennessee.
Manning had been in Raleigh-Durham working out several times at Duke recently. Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe was his offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee.
The owner has said he will do whatever it takes to sign Manning in his chase for a championship. He sees the quarterback as the missing piece. The 89-year-old Adams is staying in Houston, and that's why Reinfeldt joined Webster and Munchak for this trip.
Adams promoted Reinfeldt from general manager in January to senior executive vice president and COO to act as his point man with the team in Tennessee while he lives 650 miles away.
The Titans already have veteran Matt Hasselbeck with two years left on a deal signed last July, and drafted Jake Locker with the eighth pick overall in the 2011 draft.
The quarterback's suitors include Denver, Arizona and Miami. He reportedly visited with the Dolphins Monday night in Indianapolis.
Cutcliffe declined to answer any questions about Manning Wednesday following the Blue Devils spring practice. However, when asked how his players were handling the distraction with the new faces around, the coach laughed and said, "you found a way, didn't you" to get in a question about Manning.
He said having Manning at the team's facilities has not been a problem.
"That's always, for them (the Duke players), encouraging and fun. That's the honest truth," Cutcliffe said of Manning working out at Duke's facilities. "But they've done a great job of letting anybody that's in here work and do what they've got to do, and they work around them.
"I think it's always good to have examples and see the kind of work ethic it takes to succeed in football."
AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Durham, N.C., contributed to this report.