No punishments for Manning, Gase

ByJeff Legwold ESPN logo
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The NFL did not fine or levy any other punishment on the Denver Broncos, quarterback Peyton Manning or offensive coordinator Adam Gase for an April visit when Gase and Manning crossed paths at the University of Alabama, team sources told ESPN.

The Broncos learned that no punishment was in the offing several weeks ago -- early in training camp, according to sources.

The incident came to light when Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban had characterized Manning and Gase as "making some visits" in a news conference and said the two wanted to include Alabama on the list.

A coach and a player taking a campus visit together before their team starts its offseason program is a violation of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.

The Broncos started their offseason program April 14 while Gase and Manning, on separate visits, had gone to Tuscaloosa earlier that month. The Broncos have publicly maintained, as both Gase and Manning have, that the two had made individual trips to the school and did not travel together in offseason.

At the time, Manning was asked whether he had met with Gase while in Tuscaloosa, and offered: "I certainly know the rules, but I know there's no rule that says a player can't get better -- at least I haven't read that one. That's what I was trying to do, and I believe that is important -- especially as you get older -- in the offseason to try to seek out some things to try to make yourself a better player. ... [A meeting with Gase] didn't happen. We know what the rules were. Like I said, I was there on an independent project, and Adam was as well."

Gase's wife has family in the New Orleans area, and Gase was on vacation when he drove to Tuscaloosa to spend a few days at the Tide's complex as part of the trip. Saban gave Gase his start in coaching when Saban was at Michigan State and Gase was a student at the school.

Gase was on Saban's staff at LSU as well.

Manning, who has visited Tennessee and Vols coach Butch Jones on several occasions in recent years, has known Saban for a long time through Manning's father, Archie.

It all reveals a murky part of the current CBA, similar to situations like Dallas quarterback Tony Romo and coach Jason Garrett sitting in team owner Jerry Jones' suite during the NCAA Final Four at AT&T Stadium earlier this year. Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who played for the Cowboys for nine seasons before being released earlier this year, was also in the suite.

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