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At the Pro Bowl, Peyton Manning Talks Titans, From HC Brian Callahan to QB Will Levis to RB Derrick Henry – and He Told a Great Story About the Late Frank Wycheck


ORLANDO – Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning is coaching the AFC here at the Pro Bowl, which means he's Derrick Henry's coach.

Manning has already talked to Henry about a number of things, including Brian Callahan, who's now head coach of the Titans.

Manning knows Callahan well – they were in Denver, with the Broncos, together.

"Brian Callahan would love Derrick Henry, and vice versa," Manning said on Friday. "There's obviously the business side that comes into play, and that's up for (GM) Ran Carthon and his staff to decide. But Brian Callahan appreciates a good running game, his dad (Bill) is (reportedly) coming over (to coach the o-line), and his dad is the best line coach in the NFL. I know he appreciates a good back. (Tennessee) would be a great place for Derrick to continue to play, in my opinion."

On Friday, the former University of Tennessee quarterback tackled a number of topics in an interview with, including more on Callahan, quarterback Will Levis, and the late Frank Wycheck.

Callahan began his NFL career as a coaching assistant in Denver in 2010, before transitioning to offensive quality control coach in 2011. He worked his way up the ranks, becoming an offensive assistant, and then quarterbacks coach with the Broncos.

It was during that time Callahan began working with Manning.

"He's extremely hard working, he's smart, he's grown up around football, he's tough," Manning said of Callahan, hired by the Titans last month to replace Mike Vrabel. "He's been in different coaching environments – Denver, Detroit, Cincinnati, the Raiders. So, he's seen how it works different places, and I'm sure he's learned some things to do, and maybe what not to do.

"He has earned this opportunity, he's paid his dues, he's done the grunt work. He and I used to text at 1 o'clock in the morning, he was over at the complex still, breaking film down and was not leaving any time soon. I appreciated his work ethic during my time in Denver, and that is not going to leave him ever. The Titans are getting a guy who is going to give it everything he has. It looks like he is putting together a good staff, and I'm pulling hard for him."

Manning said he thinks Callahan will be great for Levis, a second-round pick of the team in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Manning, in fact, said he talked to Carthon about how Callahan could help Levis in his development.

Levis, after being inactive the first six games of the season, ended up starting nine games in 2023, and he completed 149-of-255 passes (58.4%) for 1,808 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions, with a passer rating of 84.2.

"I talked to Ran during the interview process, and that's one of the first things that jumped out to me, how Brian would benefit Will," Manning said. "I have enjoyed getting to know Will, and keeping up with him. He got some good experience in his first year.

"But now you are looking for some continuity in the system, and the good thing about Brian – I know he is calling the plays this year – is it will be the same system the entire time, and that is so critical to a quarterback. That's what I had in my career, Joe Burrow is going to have the same system as long as Zac Taylor is there (in Cincinnati), so that is a real plus for any young quarterback, and Will will benefit from that. It's quarterback friendly, there's answers on every play, and as a quarterback that is what you are looking for."

At the end of today's interview at Camping World Stadium, site of Pro Bowl practices, Manning pulled out his phone and opened up his camera roll.

Manning then shared a photo of himself alongside former Titans tight end Frank Wycheck at a Pro Bowl during their playing days together. Wycheck, who passed away in December, made it to three Pro Bowls (1998-2000) in his career.

Manning, with the Colts at the time of the photo, said he discovered the photo when digging through some old pictures recently.

"Frank was a great guy, he had a great heart," Manning said of Wycheck. "He was fun to be around. I remember being at the beach in Hawaii, and Jon Gruden was serving beers to me and Frank on the beach and we got a great kick out of that. Great memories of Frank. I loved playing golf with Frank. I miss him every day. … My thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Manning then shared a story about Wycheck that brought a smile to his face.

Manning said he always smiles when he thinks of Wycheck.

"I remember (Frank) spilled a glass of wine on (celebrities) Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson at the hotel restaurant – that was a highlight for me," Manning said with a smile. "(Frank's) attempt to clean up and try and fix it made it even better. Bitter-sweet memories of being at the Pro Bowl with Frank. I miss him dearly."

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