Peyton Manning Tells A Classic Jim Harbaugh Story: 'I Remember Weird Things'

It all went down at a secret free-agent meeting in 2012.

Will Burchfield
June 24, 2020 - 10:36 am
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Jim Harbaugh is a no-frills kinda guy. He loves khakis, whole milk, and PB&J's. 

So if you offer him a snack -- even if you don't really mean it -- you know what he'll order. 

Take it from Peyton Manning. 

When Manning was a free agent in 2012 following his departure from the Colts, he took a secret meeting with the 49ers at the home of former Tennessee head coach, David Cutliffe. The 49ers sent two reps: Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The group watched film and talked scheme in Cutliffe's basement. 

Toward the end of the meeting, Cutliffe's wife came downstairs and offered her guests some food. 

Take it away, Peyton. 

"I remember this -- I remember weird things -- we were leaving to go throw and Mrs. Cutcliffe, who I’ve known forever, just a sweet lady, she said, 'Would y’all like anything to eat before you go?' It was one of those when somebody offers you, you kind of get the feel maybe she really didn’t want to make you something to eat, but she felt like she had to offer, that kind of thing," Manning recounted to The Athletic. "So I was like, 'No, thanks, Mrs. Cutcliffe, I’m fine,' and Greg Roman’s like, 'I’m fine, Thank you for offering.' And coach Cut’s like, 'I’m fine, honey.' And I remember Harbaugh just said, 'Yeah, I’ll have a PB&J.”

In Harbaugh's mind, this was the polite response. 

"I always feel like, at least in my mom’s house, when she asks if you want something, she’s offended if you don’t let her make you something," Harbaugh said. "I do love PB&J. Absolutely." 

All fueled up, Harbaugh proceeded to challenge Manning to a game of 'Burnout' after the throwing session, according to former Broncos head coach John Fox. 

"It’s usually played in baseball," said Fox. "The way Peyton explained it to me, it was basically who could throw it the hardest, me or him?"

As they were firing the ball back and forth, Harbaugh even managed to slip in a humble brag. 

"I think all this talk about arm strength, he wanted to see it and feel it himself," Manning said. "I remember too, Randy Moss had just worked out for the 49ers, and I said, 'Hey, how’d the Moss workout go?' He said, 'Oh, he looked great.' He said, 'But I threw it to him. I made every throw perfect. He didn’t come out of the break on one route. That was the only throw that we missed.' I thought that was a pretty good line. 'Moss looked good, but I threw the ball pretty good, too.'"

We're guessing Harbaugh cooled down with a tall glass of milk.