Peyton Manning is regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, but not even a guy with his acolades could land a one-on-one interview with New England Patriots rookie signal-caller Mac Jones.
Manning, who co-hosts the “Monday Night Football” simulcast with his brother Eli, explained during the Patriots-Bills game on Monday night that he reached out to Jones and was told he had to connect with the team’s media relations department, but was denied an interview with the rookie.
“Mac Jones, he was very respectful,” Manning said. “He said, ‘Peyton, I want to do it. But can you call our PR director, Stacy (James) because he kind of has to oversee all things. I said ‘No problem.’ I called Stacy very professional, I said ‘Stacy, I’m talking to Coach Belichick, can I talk to Mac Jones? And I gotta tell you, I appreciate how they’re handling Mac Jones. They are trying to protect him. Give him as few off-the-field distractions as possible, let him concentrate on playing football.”
While on WEEI Radio’s Merloni & Fauria, Jones explained his side of the story.
“I texted him or whatever. I am not going to get into any details, but I think we were just focused on the game,” Jones said, via Audacy. “The Patriots do a great job of just helping me stay focused on what I need to stay focused on. I [was] always like that in college, too.”
Jones also responded to Manning’s comment about his cell phone potentially being off during the week.
“I don’t know if it’s off, but I definitely don’t go on my phone that much,” Jones added. “I just don’t really look at it or focus on it unless I am talking to my family. … I feel bad sometimes not being able to talk to everybody, but it’s a busy life.”
After explaining the initial reaction, Manning went on to talk about his own experience as a rookie when he was the starting quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.
“So yes, I did get denied. It was the first quarterback I haven’t talked to, but I appreciate it,” Manning said. “Bill Polian, as a rookie with me with the Colts did the same thing. He didn’t let the Marketing Department talk to me, the Community Relations Department talk to me. He said, ‘Hey, it’s all football this first season. Don’t bother him.’ And I think the Patriots are taking that same approach with Mac Jones and it’s paying off, it’s working.”