Titans' opportunity to woo Peyton Manning comes Wednesday

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 8:47pm

Peyton Manning will hear from the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday as the four-time NFL most valuable player continues his search for a new team.

According to multiple reports, a contingent of Titans personnel led by coach Mike Munchak will make their case to the veteran quarterback, who already has had extensive interviews with three other franchises — Arizona, Denver and Miami. Manning became a free agent late last week when the Indianapolis Colts released him after 14 seasons.

At least one analyst, though, believes the Titans are a leading contender to land Manning, the former University of Tennessee star, even before the meeting.

"Well, I see it as a dead heat at this point [between the Broncos and Titans]," former Colts president Bill Polian, now an ESPN analyst, said on the network Tuesday. "The Titans do have the home-field advantage as both he and his wife have a great affection for the state of Tennessee, they have a home in Chattanooga, so it's possible that that could be the deciding factor. But I think for sure (he'll join an) AFC (team), and (it's) very definitely a tough decision for him."

Polian’s insight is interesting given that Tennessee recently hired one of his sons, Dennis Polian, as Munchak’s administrative assistant.

Manning’s future remained a dominant topic throughout the league even as the free agency signing period commenced Tuesday afternoon. More than 500 players became available to any team that wanted to sign them.

As they prepared for their interview, the Titans did not add anyone from other teams but reportedly hosted veteran guard Steve Hutchinson, a seven-time Pro Bowler with Seattle and Minnesota (his last appearance was 2009). Hutchinson, 34, was a teammate of current Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck with the Seahawks and also, according to some, has developed a friendship with Manning through shared Pro Bowl appearances.

There has been no indication as to how long Manning will take before he selects his next team or whether he will talk to any others after Tennessee.