New York Jets owner Woody Johnson wouldn't rule out his organization pursuing Peyton Manning Thursday, but did insist that Mark Sanchez is our guy.
Johnson, in his first public interview since the Jets missed the playoff, told Jets beat writers that Sanchez would likely be the team's starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. But he admitted that the it would look at everything when asked whether it would pursue Manning.
This latest bit of news comes a day after Parks and Recreation star Rob Lowe reported on Twitter that Manning was retiring. Lowe innocuously tweeted out Hearing my fave, #18 Peyton Manning will not return to #NFL. Wow. #Colts.
The tweets set off a frenzy on Twitter with reporters trying to simultaneously crack Tommy Boy jokes and confirm whether the tweet was authentic. Both Archie Manning, Peyton's father, and Tom Condon, Peyton's agent, denied that the report was accurate, but Lowe is apparently close with Colts owner Jim Irsay, so there could be some legitimacy to it all.
Irsay -- known for his outspoken nature -- tweeted that he heard Lowe was going to star in a remake of pornographic film Deep Throat but never directly denied Lowe's tweets about Manning's retirement.
Most expected Manning to return to the NFL next season after a year off for rehabilitation from neck surgery, but it might not be with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are expected to draft Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in April's NFL Draft, which could force them to dump Manning and his hefty $28 million salary. The Colts have until March to make a decision on Manning before his large salary cap bonus kicks in, but most signs point to Irsay cutting ties with the former NFL MVP.
If the Colts do part ways with Manning, as many have begun to speculate, the Jets would be one of a handful of teams interested in him. The Redskins will likely pursue Manning harder than any other team, but the Jets might make a push to create some competition for Sanchez.
Sanchez didn't have a horrible year in 2011-12, but the team's off-season has been marked by anonymous Jets questioning his abilities. The New York Daily News had a long story on Jets players calling for team executives to pursue Manning and other available quarterbacks to spur Sanchez to perform better.
Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson -- considered to be one of the leaders within the locker room -- told Showtime's Inside the NFL that Sanchez was a bit pampered because he has no real threat to say this guy may take my job.
Tomlinson would go on to note that the relationship between Sanchez and some of the wide receivers was as bad as I've been around. He added that a player like Manning could change the locker room for the better, especially with malcontent Santonio Holmes, but also could completely rip the team wide open. Additionally adding Manning, who wouldn't be a backup, would fly in the face of all the team's talk that Sanchez was the guy going forward.
The Jets brain trust -- Johnson, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan -- has said time and time again that Sanchez was the right man to lead the team to a Super Bowl. Even during his press conference on Thursday, Johnson spoke highly of his young starting quarterback.
With Mark, you have a 25-year-old quarterback that you can develop, Johnson said. You can have a quarterback for 10 years with a guy like this. These guys are not available every day. We have a lot of confidence in Mark, we think he's our guy. We're blessed we have a guy that we feel can climb the ladder and get a lot better. He can do everything, he's got the work ethic, and he's got all the ingredients in place to be a great quarterback.