ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –When Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Broncos quarterback Demaryius Thomas cross paths next week in New York and New Jersey, it won't be their first meeting.
Even before Denver and Seattle squared off in the preseason this year, Manning and Wilson had met.
When Wilson was in high school, he attended the Manning Passing Academy.
"Obviously, Peyton Manning is a Hall of Fame quarterback who I have a ton of respect for," Wilson said. "I actually went to the Peyton Manning Passing Academy when I was young. I liked him so much back then and I still do."
The two quarterbacks met again later at the Broncos' Dove Valley practice facility before Wilson was drafted by Seattle.
Denver brought Wilson out for a pre-draft visit as the team was evaluating quarterbacks before the 2012 NFL Draft.
"Wilson, we had him in," Elway recalled last week when talking about the 2012 quarterback class. "We loved the kid. To see what he's doing, you know when you met him that he had the capability because of the presence that he has, that he had the ability to do what he is doing right now. He's athletic, can make all the plays and has the right attitude."
During that visit to the team's practice facility, the young quarterback met the veteran passer, who was in the team's locker room at the time.
"When I was getting drafted, through the whole draft process, the Broncos brought me out to Denver and he was in the locker room and I went up and talked to him," Wilson said. "He said, 'Have I seen you before somewhere? I think I've seen you — I've seen you before. Where do I know you?' I was like, 'You actually coached me in the Manning Passing Academy.' I love him to death. He's a great person first of all, and obviously a great football player."