He was looking for comfort. For familiarity. For a place where he could finish his career without having to start something completely new.
And although the Miami Dolphins always made sense for plenty of reasons, particularly because he liked what he saw from a personnel standpoint, it never made sense for any of the most important ones. Not even with a condo in South Beach.
Even as they made a major push to sign Manning, they always had a strong sense they were never the leaders in the race. Manning was always respectful and honest through the process, sources said, and the Dolphins remained consistent to their own plans as well.
For instance, the push for Manning did not alter the Dolphins' plans to trade Brandon Marshall, sources said. Miami was intent on making that move, and although the Dolphins told Manning during their Monday meeting that Marshall might or might not be with the team, they never made guarantees either way.
Who is the favorite in the race to sign Peyton Manning? NFL.com ranks and charts the movement of all the contenders. More ...
Wayne was looking for one last big deal (which he found in Indianapolis), but Dolphins sources did not feel like, based on their own research and information, that adding Wayne was going to give them any better chance of adding Manning.
Despite the fact that the Dolphins' brass was forced to meet Manning in Indianapolis, they did not feel like Manning was giving them less of a chance for that reason. Manning has spent three different occasions at Miami's facility, including a full week when the Colts practiced there in preparation for Super Bowl XLI. The Dolphins also never felt like Manning was using them for leverage, something he proved by calling them Thursday to take his name out of their potential plans.
On Monday, coach Joe Philbin, general manager Jeff Ireland, owner Stephen Ross and several staff members all boarded a flight chartered by Ross to Indianapolis, where Philbin spent the bulk of the time with Manning. Ross, however, also got his fair share of time to pitch Manning.
From the sound of it, it isn't a done deal just yet. The Dolphins would still need to have a good visit with Flynn and also reach a fair contract that's going to work for both sides.
So where will the Dolphins go for a quarterback next? We'll soon find out. But this much is known: It won't be Manning. That courtship is officially over.