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Randy Moss Blames Peyton Manning for Failed Tennessee Recruitment

Sports Illustrated 12/6/2022 Nick Selbe
© Provided by Sports Illustrated

Moss told the story to Peyton and Eli Manning during Monday night’s “Manning Cast” broadcast.

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Monday night marked the return of ESPN’s “Manning Cast,” with Peyton and Eli Manning hosting Randy Moss as one of their guests during the Buccaneers-Saints game. During Moss’ appearance, the conversation veered toward the Hall of Fame wide receiver’s college recruitment, which included an official trip to Tennessee.

It was during this weekend that Moss was supposed to meet Peyton, who was then a star quarterback for the Volunteers. The only problem? Manning wasn’t there.

As Moss recalls it, Manning was scheduled to arrive late after driving back to Tennessee from Virginia. That wouldn’t do for Moss, who couldn’t help but wonder why Manning wasn’t already there to try and secure commitment.

“When I went to Tennessee, all I heard was, ‘Peyton Manning’s in Virginia at a family member’s house. He’s trying to drive back here just to recruit you,’” Moss said. “I was like, ‘Well, if he’s driving here just to recruit me, why isn’t he here right now to get me?’ It was kind of like, Peyton being late, he wasn’t punctual, so that was the reason I didn’t become a Volunteer. Peyton was late.”

Peyton tried to explain himself, but Eli and Moss were quick to tease him for squandering such a golden opportunity. Moss eventually ended up at Marshall, where he put up historic numbers across two seasons. He and Peyton were each finalists for the 1997 Heisman Trophy, with Manning finishing second and Moss coming in fourth.

In the end, everything worked out pretty great for the pair on the football field, but it’s a pretty great “what if?” to imagine Moss and Manning starring in the same offense.

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