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Pioli says Peyton Manning wasn't interested in joining Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Chiefs have aggressively sought to improve their offense this offseason, signing running back Peyton Hillis, tight end Kevin Boss and right tackle Eric Winston.

They missed out on the biggest name in the free-agent derby, but it turns out they never really had a chance.

Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said Tuesday that the franchise reached out to Peyton Manning shortly after he was let go by the Indianapolis Colts, but it quickly became evident that the four-time MVP already had a list of likely destinations.

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"Clearly he had a plan. He let me know that," Pioli said. "He didn't get into the details. He was up front about what he was doing, some of the visits he wanted to take, and we initially weren't a part of that."

Manning wound up agreeing to a five-year, $96 million deal with the Denver Broncos, the Chiefs' AFC West rivals.

"I've spent a lot of time with him, around him, communicating with him, competing against his teams," Pioli said of Manning. "He had a plan, he executed it, and he never explained to me, nor did I ask."

The Chiefs were among the teams rumored to be in the running for Manning after owner Clark Hunt expressed his admiration for the quarterback during a television interview. Pioli also had said that he wanted to create competition for Matt Cassel as the team's starting quarterback.

Cassel will be returning from a season-ending injury to his throwing hand. The team recently signed former Broncos backup Brady Quinn to create some depth.

Pioli refused to get into details about his conversations with Manning and his agent, but he did say Cassel was aware that discussions had taken place. Pioli also said he's comfortable with the three quarterbacks currently on the roster -- he drafted Ricky Stanzi in the fifth round last season -- which makes it unlikely that the Chiefs will select another in the April draft.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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