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Manning learned of Kiffin hiring 'with everybody else'

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


AP Sports Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Peyton Manning says he still bleeds orange, and Albert Haynesworth hopes new coach Lane Kiffin works out at Tennessee. That doesn't mean the former Volunteers are ready to embrace the guy who replaced their close friend and former coach, Phillip Fulmer.

Not when both remain disappointed that Fulmer was pushed out.

"Obviously, it's a big change there, so we'll see how it works out," the Colts quarterback said Wednesday in Indianapolis. "I wish him the best, obviously. My blood still bleeds orange."

Haynesworth, a defensive tackle with the Tennessee Titans, said he doesn't want Kiffin to fail.

"I hope it doesn't turn around and bite the boosters and the A.D., Mike Hamilton, and all that in the butt from pulling the trigger too fast and firing coach Fulmer," Haynesworth said in Nashville.

And no, despite some reports, Manning said he was never consulted in Kiffin's hiring. Manning found out about it from media reports.

"It was kind of a one-man crew on the athletic department side. It was their decision, so I found out when everybody else found out, I guess on the Friday before the last game," he said.

Asked if he would have liked to have been consulted on the hiring, Manning said yes -- if he wasn't playing. At the time, he was busy studying upcoming opponents.

"I was talking to coach Fulmer doing those past few weeks, and I knew they were interviewing different guys," Manning said.

Haynesworth said he got the impression from playing against Kiffin's Oakland Raiders in August that he is a players' coach. But the defensive tackle said Kiffin is replacing someone who was a mentor and coach.

"You could see it after the game how everybody carried him off the field and how everybody was there that he was more than just their football coach, he was almost like another dad," Haynesworth said of Fulmer's final game last weekend.

Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy knows Kiffin from coaching with Kiffin's father, Monte, in Tampa. He thinks the son did a really good job with Oakland and will do good for Tennessee. That doesn't mean Dungy expects Monte Kiffin to leave the Buccaneers and joining his son at Tennessee.

"I'll believe it when I see it. It's tough when you've been a long time pro coach going back to college. I know Monte has talked about wanting to coach with Lane, but we'll see," Dungy said.

AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

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