Peyton Manning's playing days are far behind him, but he's still finding ways to be shut down by the New England Patriots.
The Hall-of-Fame quarterback, who battled against Tom Brady and the Patriots in one of the most memorable rivalries in NFL history, was denied an interview with Mac Jones. Manning explained on ESPN's Pats-Bills "ManningCast" that New England media relations politely turned down his request to talk to the rookie quarterback.
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"Well, I tried to talk to Mac Jones, and he was very respectful," Manning said. "He said, 'Peyton, I want to do it, but can you call our PR director, Stacey? Because he kind of has to oversee all things. I said, 'No problem.' I called Stacey, very professional, I said, 'Stacey, 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."
Manning obviously isn't used to having his interview requests denied, but he didn't have an issue with how the Patriots handled the situation. In fact, he admitted the Indianapolis Colts treated him similarly as a rookie QB.
"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."
It sure is. Jones is on pace for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, and the Patriots entered Week 13 with a first-place spot in the AFC East at 8-4.