Yesterday, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning announced his retirement in a speech that prompted ESPN's Michael Wilbon to name-check the most famous farewell address in American professional sports history — Lou Gehrig's 1939 goodbye to the Yankees, when he called himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth" despite suffering from the disease that would soon be synonymous with him.
Afterward, the focus shifted to Brock Osweiler — but for reasons he wouldn't have chosen.
Osweiler is a free agent, and he's expected to sign a large-money deal with the Broncos or another suitor; the Houston Texans are the most frequently cited potential rival. However, contract negotiations suddenly took a backseat after TMZ released cell phone video of a confrontation in which Osweiler can be seen pushing a woman involved in a verbal confrontation with his wife.
According to the New Times, the incident took place in Scottsdale, Arizona (Osweiler played his college ball at Arizona State), around 2 a.m. on Saturday, March 5. On Friday night, Osweiler and his wife, Erin, had attended a concert featuring singer Kelley James, the New Times notes — and the couple subsequently stopped by an eatery called Joe's Pizza to pick up a large pie.
The video begins with a verbal altercation involving two women, with one of the pair pushing Osweiler as he and his wife walk toward their vehicle, and Osweiler pushes her back — forcefully but not violently.
"What are you going to do? What are you going to do?" Osweiler can be heard asking to people outside the frame of the video — and possibly the person doing the recording.
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At that point, the second woman grabs at the pizza box. But instead of putting his hand on her, too, Osweiler pivots and moves to his ride — at which point a man shoves him from behind.
"What the fuck you doing?" the man wants to know. "You trying to fight a chick?"
Clearly, Osweiler isn't trying to fight anyone. Instead of taking the bait, he steps in front of Erin and beats a retreat.
TMZ, which has a teensy tendency toward sensationalism, takes an unexpectedly positive tack, applauding Osweiler for his restraint: Its headline makes the point that he "refuses to fight back." New Times hits the same point, stressing that Osweiler "doesn't retaliate."
Police on the scene have already said what happened doesn't rise to the level of criminality, so no charges are anticipated. But on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike this morning, co-host Mike Greenburg talked at length about the bad optics of the situation, and commentator and former NFL coach Herm Edwards reinforced the theory that bad things go down when professional athletes are out at 2 a.m.
At this point, it's uncertain whether the video will enhance Osweiler's bargaining position with the Broncos and other teams, diminish it or have no impact whatsoever. But whereas Manning's timing when it came to his retirement was impeccable, the timing of the Osweiler video was far from ideal from the Brockweiler's perspective.
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Here's the video.