Peyton Manning says he did not violate NFL rules when he travelled to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to meet with Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban in early April. The point of contention is not Manning's meeting with Saban, but the fact that he might have done so jointly with Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
"I don't know about any rule that keeps a player from getting better," Manning told Lindsay Jones and other members of the media after the first day of Broncos OTAs on Monday. He insisted that he did not sit in on meetings with Gase.
Under the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement, players are not permitted to meet with coaches before the beginning of offseason programs. Eyebrows were raised, therefore, when Saban told AL.com that Manning and Gase visited the Crimson Tide facility at the beginning of the month.
Once the rumblings of rules violations began, Saban clarified that he did not meet with the pair to discuss football strategy -- at least not together anyway -- which would be a clear violation of the CBA.
"I am surprised to hear that anyone thought that what they were doing was in any way wrong. That's what people get for assuming," Saban told The Denver Post. "We did not talk Broncos football at all, other than Peyton asking questions about how he could get better as a player."
When asked whether Manning and Gase were in the meeting at the same time, Saban replied "Only to say hello. ... I only talked to Adam about his family. He talked to our assistant coaches."
Gase got his coaching start under Saban at Michigan State, so the notion that his visit was strictly personal at least holds water.