In fairness, though, the raw but talented quarterback out of Arizona State was caught up in the craziness of the draft on Friday and simply didn’t pay that close of attention to his phone once he was picked by the Denver Broncos in the second round.
Only the next day, as Osweiler was about to board a plane to meet his new team, did he even notice Manning’s message.
“I was like, `Oh shoot! Peyton Manning!” he said.
Starting now, Osweiler vows to hang on Manning’s every word.
As Osweiler took a tour of the Broncos facility on Saturday with fellow draft picks Derek Wolfe and Ronnie Hillman, the 6-foot-7 QB kept peering into every meeting room, hoping to catch a glimpse of Manning hard at work.
Surprisingly, Osweiler didn’t bump into Manning, who’s been a fixture at the complex since signing with Denver.
“I hope that Peyton and myself can spark a great relationship,” the quarterback-in-waiting said. “I hope he doesn’t mind me looking over his shoulder and trying to take as many notes as I possibly can.”
Manning is a four-time NFL MVP because of his meticulous attention to detail and his relentless work ethic. Osweiler marvels at the dedication and pledges to emulate it.
For now – and possibly even for the next few years to come – Osweiler insists he doesn’t mind playing backup to Manning. He’s just looking at it as on-the-job training from one of the best in the business.
“When I see him, `I’m going to ask him, `Hey, what time are you getting to the building? What are we doing today? What drills do you have?'” Osweiler said. “I’m going to try to match everything that he does so I can continue to grow as a quarterback.”
That growth process has already started.
See, Osweiler developed a habit of dropping his right arm when he threw. It was something he needed to work on and correct. He ventured out to Los Angeles to fix his form with new UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, the same coach who’s helped Tim Tebow with his mechanics.
Osweiler estimates he threw more than 10,000 passes just to get the path of his elbow in line with the rest of his arm.
“Got it fixed,” he proudly announced.
Broncos boss John Elway definitely noticed a difference in a private workout. Osweiler was hardly the same passer.
“He’s a guy that in my mind has an extreme upside and has a chance to be a great quarterback in this league for a long, long time,” Elway said.
Osweiler’s future was almost on the basketball floor instead of the football field. Coming out of high school in Kalispell, Mont., Osweiler was a highly coveted big man, even originally committing to Gonzaga. He also received interest from Arizona, Cincinnati, Oklahoma and Michigan State.
But he just couldn’t bring himself to give up football, knowing full well it was a big risk.
“There haven’t been too many quarterbacks that are my size that have played in the NFL,” Osweiler said. “I just love the game of football too much.
“Everything that goes into it: the strategy, the Xs and Os, the offseasons, the adjustments at halftime, playing outside, everything about the game. I just loved it too much to give up at that point in time of my life.”
Osweiler blossomed under center with the Sun Devils, throwing for 4,036 yards at 26 TDs last season. He also set new school records for completions (326), attempts (516) and completion percentage (63.2).
After playing in the Las Vegas Bowl, Osweiler decided to declare for the draft. At his pro day, he was understandably nervous, until he received a little bit of advice from ASU legend and former Broncos QB Jake Plummer.
“He could see me walking into the facility a little juiced up, a little amped up, and he just pulled me aside and told me to calm down, enjoy this process, relax and go have fun,” Osweiler said. “That was really a breath of fresh air and I thank him for that.”
Osweiler said his only individual workouts were with Kansas City and Denver.
So when the Broncos’ pick at No. 57 got closer, his heart began to race.
Then the phone rang – with a Denver area code.
“I really couldn’t control my emotions,” said Osweiler, a good friend of Elway’s son, Jack, who also went to ASU. “I did a couple of fists pumps and ran around the yard a little bit. It’s such an honor to be here and I don’t really think things could have worked out any better.”
As he spoke at an introductory news conference, Osweiler referred to his new employer as Mr. Elway. That’s how much he respects the Hall of Famer.
He feels the same way about Manning.
Will he address him as “Mr.” as well?
“We’ll see what he wants me to call him,” Osweiler said, chuckling. “As a young quarterback, you cannot ask for a better situation. I’m going to soak up every minute of it.”
By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
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