NEWARK, N.J. – Brock Osweiler has a reputation for early exits.
But when it comes to being the apprentice until Peyton Manning decides to call it a career with the Denver Broncos – and there’s been speculation that could happen if they beat Seattle on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII – Osweiler seems to be in it for the long haul.
“Whether he plays one more game,” said the Broncos’ backup quarterback, “or five more years.”
This is in contrast to Osweiler’s college football career, which he cut short after his junior season to declare for the NFL draft, and his college basketball career – which he cut short in high school.
Osweiler hadn’t even cracked a book in sophomore English at Flathead High School in Kalispell, Mont., when he committed to play for Gonzaga University. That was after a 2006 freshman season in which the 6-foot-8 forward had averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and four assists a game.
But as his football skills quickly caught up with his hoop game, and during the spring of his junior year came his “epiphany moment” in a computer class.
“And it said, ‘You need to play football at Arizona State,’ ” he recalled.
Later that day, he phoned Gonzaga’s coaching staff with his thanks and regrets, followed by the call to then-ASU football coach Dennis Erickson to ask if the scholarship he’d offered was still available.
“It had been weighing on my mind, shoot, for probably a year,” said Osweiler, “and it was something I thought about every day. At the end of the day, I just loved football too much to give it up.”
He was the understudy, with two emergency starts, for two seasons at ASU before becoming the starter in 2011, and after one record-setting season he was off to the NFL as the Broncos’ second-round draft choice.
“I would have gotten another 12, 13, 14 games, potentially, as a starting quarterback in college,” he said, “but other than that, no regrets. Coming to Denver has been an unbelievable opportunity.”
Coinciding as it did with the club’s signing of Manning after his high profile release from Indianapolis.
“Peyton has been over the top as far as helping me out, teaching me things and pointing this out when he certainly doesn’t have to,” said Osweiler, who has thrown just 20 passes in two NFL seasons.
And whenever Manning does decide to retire, Osweiler seems to have no qualms about being the guy who follows the guy.
“If I’m fortunate enough to be the starter in Denver one day and succeed Peyton,” he said, “I’ll embrace the legacy he’s left.”
No more room at the inn
Given that they play side-by-side on the defensive line and that they’re the longest-tenured Seahawks, it’s probably not surprising that Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane are best friends.
But there are limits.
“Red actually has clothes at my house in what’s going to be my daughter’s room,” Mebane said. “He has his jerseys in my daughter’s closet. I told him he needs to get the stuff out of there before she comes in April.”
“People keep asking me about my hair,” said Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, “and if that’s a factor in the game.”
Well, perhaps because the last time the Seahawks were in a Super Bowl, they were led by the follicly challenged Matt Hasselbeck, and look how that one turned out.
“Everybody keeps talking about the weather,” said Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, whose hairline is retreating into Hasselbeck territory. “But I think hair is probably the key component, and not enough people are talking about it in my opinion.”
Key as in less is more, Peyton, or more is more – or key in being able to pull everyone’s chain?
“Normally I keep my hair pretty low,” Wilson said. “I actually saw an 11th grade picture of my dad and I. When I was in 11th grade, we won the state championship. I had my hair grown out. I didn’t cut my hair the whole year for that season and my dad didn’t either, so it kind of inspired me for this year. That’s kind of why I have the Michael Jackson/Bruno Mars S-curl right now.”
Seahawks tackle Russell Okung: “I haven’t been on the subway, but I need to try and get on one this week.”
Linebacker Bobby Wagner: “Somebody asked me what I do when I have to pee when I’m on the field. I told them that I’m not thinking about that because if you are trying to tackle Adrian Peterson and that’s what you are thinking, that’s how you get run over.”
Defensive end Chris Clemons: “I don’t think I’ve ever talked for an hour straight about football.”