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Pete Carroll, 'Hawks explored signing Peyton Manning

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- The Seattle Seahawks are bunkered down this week in an effort to solve the riddle of Peyton Manning and the high-flying Denver Broncos.

Can the Seahawks' historically stingy defense stop the Broncos' record-setting offense?

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Had life played out a shade differently, however, we'd be watching Denver's defense take on Manning in a Seahawks jersey during Sunday's Super Bowl.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll told reporters Wednesday that he and general manager John Schneider made a play for Peyton during the passer's foray into free agency two offseasons ago.

"It was brief," Carroll said. "We have ventured into every opportunity. John and I have looked into what is available, what could we possibly get out of the players that are out there. In this free-agency opportunity, you know, here's Peyton Manning."

Once the Seahawks alerted Manning's camp that Seattle had interest, Carroll quickly learned that Peyton was driving the process.

"Word got out and, really, he called me. He called me first," the coach said. "He knew that we were interested and he gave me a call and woke me up one morning and -- jumped out of bed. 'OK, let's go. What's up, Peyton?

"And so we started talking. We talked about just the basics of what it might mean for him coming to us and so the process was underway. It was very early. He had said he didn't know what he was going to do, he didn't know where he was going to visit, he didn't know what was going to come up and he wanted at least to hear where we stood and what our interest was."

It didn't last long. Carroll called Seattle's involvement a "very short process" before Manning was courted and eventually won over by John Elway's Broncos.

Seattle's obsession with turning over every stone ultimately scored them Russell Wilson, after 31 other teams passed on the ascendant signal-caller. So the story has a happy ending. Still, the concept of Manning under center in Seattle -- paired with that defense -- is a terrifying notion for anyone who makes a living in the NFC.

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