Peyton Manning and Randy Moss were two of the biggest college football stars of 1990s. In fact, the two were finalists for the Heisman Trophy during the 1997 season at Tennessee and Marshall, respectively, but they could have been teammates in Knoxville, if not for some ill-timed tardiness.
Moss joined Peyton and Eli Manning for the "ManningCast" for Monday night's game between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his appearance, Moss stated that he could've played with Manning at Tennessee, but Manning was the reason that it never came to fruition.
"He wasn't punctual," Moss said regarding Manning. "That was the reason I didn't become a Volunteer. Peyton was late.
"When I went to Tennessee, all I heard was Peyton Manning was in Virginia at a family member's house. He is trying to drive back just to recruit you. I was like, 'Well, if he is driving here just to recruit me, why isn't he here right now to get me?'"
Manning quickly responded that he was visiting his then-girlfriend and now-wife, Ashley, who was attending the University of Virginia at the time. The Hall of Fame signal caller said that he left Charlottesville at 3 a.m., so that he could get back to Knoxville in time for Moss' visit.
"I said Randy, 'We are going to throw it every play here,'" Manning added. "Three years you will be coming out to the NFL. He was not hearing it. He was headed for Notre Dame. I gave him my best pitch, though."
Moss ultimately ended up committing to Notre Dame, but never played a down for the Fighting Irish due to legal issues that resulted from a fight in high school in West Virginia. The star wide receiver also had a brief stop at Florida State before transferring to Marshall, where Moss developed into one of greatest college receivers of all-time.
Moss caught 174 passes for 3,529 yards and 54 touchdowns in just seasons with the Thundering Herd. The Marshall star went on to be selected with the No. 21 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and produced a 14-year Hall of Fame career at the professional level.
In 1997, Manning ended up finishing second to Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson in the Heisman Trophy voting while Moss finished fourth behind Woodson, Manning, and Ryan Leaf.