Peyton Manning's wife linked to stake in Memphis Grizzlies

Despite reports that Peyton Manning has purchased part of the Memphis Grizzlies NBA franchise, sources close to the Denver Broncos quarterback say it's not his initiative, but instead a project being pursued by his wife, Ashley.

Ashley, a Memphis native, had interest in becoming a partner with the Grizzlies because of her desire to keep the team in the area for as long as possible, sources told NFL.com. Manning has supported her decision.

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Asked for comment, the Broncos provided a statement from Manning to explain the situation.

"I am proud of Ashley as she pursues this opportunity with the Memphis Grizzlies," Manning said. "While my focus is on playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos, I look forward to watching her become involved with her hometown team."

Former NBA player Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, artist Justin Timberlake and several Memphis business owners all are involved as minority owners, along with Ashley Manning. Robert Pera agreed to buy the team in June for $350 million, and he's currently waiting for the NBA to authorize the sale. Pera is responsible for rounding up the minority ownership group.

Ashley Manning's name will appear on all paperwork pertaining to the purchase. Peyton's name will not appear, as he is making it clear to those close to him that this is his wife's project.

Follow Jeff Darlington on Twitter @JeffDarlington.

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