Peyton Manning didn’t join the 49ers as a free agent, but at least he was polite about it. Following his departure from Indianapolis in 2012, the five-time MVP worked out for interested teams—many of them there to gauge Manning’s health after a yearlong recovery from neck surgery—at Duke University with then-Niners coach Jim Harbaugh among several in attendance.
San Francisco didn’t seriously pursue Manning (who would later sign a five-year, $96-million contract with Denver), but the Hall-of-Fame quarterback thanked the team anyway, acknowledging the Niners’ interest in a hand-written note to CEO Jed York. According to York, the only other hand-written letter he’s received from a player came last summer when George Kittle thanked him for his five-year, $75-million contract extension.
“After he signed in Denver, when we didn’t evaluate Peyton, even though Jim and [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] went down to Duke to work him out, Peyton wrote me a hand-written note,” the 49ers exec shared Tuesday during his visit with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen. “It was just, ‘Thanks for the interest in me, wish you guys all the best.’”
In the cutthroat world of NFL free agency where societal relics like etiquette and decorum are left at the door, Manning’s thoughtfulness sets him apart, even going the extra mile in free agency. Considering half the league was gunning for Manning after the Colts shockingly released him, the Broncos legend is lucky he didn’t get carpal tunnel from all the thank you notes he must have penned that offseason.