By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, March 19th, 2012 at 11:24 am in Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders road back to prominence in the AFC West will go through Peyton Manning.
The news that Manning, who reportedly instructed his agent to work out a deal with the Denver Broncos Monday, was greeted enthusiastically by Raiders free safety Michael Huff.
Huff, who restructured his contract in order to stay with the Raiders in 2012, went so far as to say he was hoping Manning would sign with Denver.
“I think it’s great. If you want to be the best you’ve got to beat the best,’’ Huff said by phone. “When he became a free agent it was where I was hoping he would go. He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback and if you’re a competitor you want to go against guys like that.
On Twitter as well as Internet message boards, speculation began immediately that Manning’s presence would like thrust the Raiders into the spotlight with a Sunday night or Monday night opener.
The Raiders opened the season on Monday night in Denver last season, winning 23-20, and have hosted the Broncos in a Monday night opener in 2008, losing 41-14.
With the A’s on the road in Seattle, the Raiders would be available to host a prime time opener on Sept. 9 or 10.
“Prime time football, the Raiders, the Broncos, it would be the perfect scenario,’’ Huff said.
Denver, 8-8, is the defending division champion on tiebreakers and now likely the prohibitive favorite with Manning replacing Tim Tebow.
For his career, Manning has a 3-2 record against the Raiders, winning the last three, and has completed 113 of 184 passes (61.4 percent) for 1,261 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a passer rating of 85.4.
Oakland has intercepted Manning at least once in each of the five games.
In free agency news, the Raiders have not confirmed a visit with cornerback Tracy Porter, whose 74-yard interception return for a touchdown against Manning was the deciding play in Super Bowl XLIV for the New Orleans Saints.
Porter has been linked with the Raiders, who are in the market for cornerbacks, in part because Raiders coach Dennis Allen was the defensive backs coach with the Saints during the Super Bowl season.
The Raiders did confirm a recent visit with 49ers cornerback Shawntae Spencer.
Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, released Friday when he and the Raiders couldn’t come to an agreement on a reduced contract, was reportedly visiting the Tennessee Titans.