What could have been? Russ, Peyton take BP at Coors

June 16th, 2022

DENVER -- There’s nothing like the magic of the Super Bowl rings owned by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson to brighten an already sunny day at Coors Field.

Manning, who earned his second Super Bowl title in 2016 with the Denver Broncos, and Wilson, who was acquired by the Broncos this offseason from the Seattle Seahawks, were at Coors taping a segment for Season 3 of Manning’s show "Peyton’s Places," which airs on ESPN+ and is produced by NFL Films. Manning is executive producer through his company, Omaha Productions. The two QBs took batting practice and spent time with Rockies players in the clubhouse.

Let’s say Wilson, who played in the Rockies' system in 2010 and ‘11, was the better hitter -- and he memorialized such on Twitter.

Back in 2000 as a guest of his former University of Tennessee football teammate -- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton -- Manning homered during batting practice at Coors. He remembered that day well.

Manager Bud Black even had a speaking part in the upcoming episode. He picks up the bullpen phone and calls on another quarterback -- John Elway.

“It’s fun,” Black said. “It just brings a little different kind of energy in the morning. And I think those two guys were having fun with it. I think all athletes enjoy the crossover.”

Starting with his relationship with Helton, Manning has long been a friend of the Rockies. After leaving the Indianapolis Colts, whom he led to a title in 2007, and before donning Broncos blue and orange, Manning used Coors Field facilities while rehabbing from a neck injury.

Manning played some shortstop at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans. Asked once if he thought about going further in baseball, he joked he’d have simply been “the world’s biggest shortstop.” At the end of their time on the field, Manning practiced fielding balls and flipping to Wilson at second base.

The Rockies drafted Wilson in the fourth round of the MLB Draft in 2010, and they were grooming him as a second baseman. But after his football career at North Carolina State ended, Wilson decided to forego baseball and transfer to the University of Wisconsin to enhance his NFL prospects. After being selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, he led the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl title in 2014.

But no one with the Rockies doubts he would have made the Majors with enough Minor League preparation.

“It’s a real swing,” Black said. “He’s a real athlete. You can see why he was a two-way athlete and potentially a Major League player. I’ve had some scouts and some people that felt he would’ve been a Major League player. To what extent his career would’ve unfolded, you don’t know. But many scouts thought he was headed to being a Major League player.”