LAS VEGAS – Peyton Manning gave new Titans general manager Ran Carthon the Tennessee seal of approval during a wide-ranging interview at the Pro Bowl Games.
The former University of Tennessee quarterback and Carthon go way back – they were teammates with the Indianapolis Colts from 2004-06.
They've remained in touch over the years.
"I am very happy for Ran," Manning said. "I saw him in San Francisco recently – I went to the 49ers-Seahawks playoff game (last month) and he was going through the interview process (in Tennessee). I wished him luck during those interviews, and then he got the job.
"I remember Ran as a player – a smart player, tough player, accountable. You could tell he grew up in a football family. It didn't take him long to figure out our system. We put him on there a lot during critical situations because he knew what to do. As a quarterback, you always want running backs in there that know what to do."
Carthon joined the Titans after working previously with the 49ers, where he worked for six seasons, including the last two as director of player personnel. Prior to that, Carthon served as director of player personnel with the Rams.
Manning recalled spending time with Carthon when he was with the Rams. The two watched film together during a visit, when he also spent time with Rams coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead.
"He's a sharp guy," Manning said of Carthon. "I think he's a great hire by the Titans, and I think he'll do a heck of a job."
Manning also believes Carthon's personality and approach will mesh well with head coach Mike Vrabel.
"They both want to win – that's all Mike cares about, is winning," Manning said. "And Ran, he speaks the same language. I think the two of them can work well together. It's obviously important for head coaches and GMs to be in sync. You don't have to agree on everything, but you better be communicating and talking things out. I think he'll do that. I think it could be a really good combination."
During his interview with TennesseeTitans.com from Allegiant Stadium, Manning also touched on several other topics, from former University of Tennessee quarterbacks Hendon Hooker and Josh Dobbs, who finished the team with the Titans, to representing the Vols at the Pro Bowl, to even Mike Keith, the Voice of the Titans.
Manning coached the AFC team in the Pro Bowl Games.
Manning said he watched Dobbs play in the final two games of the season for the Titans, and he was impressed.
"Very impressed," Manning said. "I saw Josh at the Tennessee-Georgia game – we were on the sideline together, so I got to visit with him then. And then a couple of weeks later he is playing for the Titans. I thought he played really well, considering the (limited time) and that's a real credit to him, how smart he is. He has a great appreciate for the cerebral part of the game."
Manning said he's rooting for former Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker, who spent time at the Senior Bowl this past week, working to make a good impression on NFL scouts despite not being healthy enough to participate.
Hooker said he expects to be ready for the 2023 season.
"I think Hendon will do well at the next level," Manning said. "Obviously his injury was disappointing for the finish to the season for him. But he had an incredible year. I talked to him – I saw him at bowl practice down in Miami. I went down there for the Orange Bowl. He said he thought he'd be throwing by April. These ACLs injuries, they can fix them sooner than they used to. So, I don't think that's going to be a factor for him. Whatever team gets him on their roster is going to be lucky."
Manning smiled when Mike Keith's name was brought up. Manning and Keith, Vice President of Broadcasting for the Titans, have been friends for years.
Manning let it be known they're texting buddies.
Manning has been a big hit in his early broadcasting career. Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli, known as the Manningcast, has been a popular alternate live television broadcast of MNF.
"I wouldn't call what I am doing broadcasting," Manning said. "Eli and I, we're … I'm not sure what we're doing. But Mike is the best. I stay in touch with Mike. I text him during Tennessee Vols victories and he texted me a clip (recently) of Ran Carthon – they were watching some film of when Ran was playing and when I was playing. Mike is the best – he's been doing it a long time. He's a true pro and obviously a great Volunteer as well."
Manning said he had a big time at the Pro Bowl, where he also spent some time with Titans long snapper Morgan Cox, who also played for the Vols.
Manning served as Cox's coach, but he noted they were already on the same team.
"I'm always proud to represent the University of Tennessee and pro football," Manning said. "I've played in a number of Pro Bowls with lots of Tennessee Vols, like Jason Witten, Eric Berry. Me and Morgan are kind of representing the Vols here this week. I think there will be more to come in the years to come. It's been a fun week."