Thursday May 9, 2013

By ARNIE STAPLETON

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As evidenced by the proliferating number of pranks he’s pulling, Peyton Manning has gotten pretty comfortable in Denver as he enters his second season with the Broncos.

His teammates warn that Manning might not want to get too cozy, although none of them have gotten back at the productive prankster.

"I think a lot of guys are going to jump at that opportunity. So we’ve just got to plan something out real good for him and get him when it counts," Manning’s latest victim, right tackle Orlando Franklin, said Wednesday.

Manning had gathered more than two dozen of his teammates for a trip to the Yankees-Rockies game the night before and engineered the gag in which receiver Eric Decker sneaked up on Franklin and smashed the 330-pound offensive lineman in the face while he was doing a live TV interview.

Just about all of his teammates except for Manning, who was surveying the scene like George Washington crossing the Delaware, was recording the interview on their cellphones when Decker decked him from behind.

Franklin tweeted afterward that Manning was the mastermind of the prank and pledged payback.

Last month, Decker was the victim of a gag when Manning tricked him into thinking he owed $3,000 to cover the costs of working out with him at Duke University.


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Decker said it took him 15 minutes to realize the bill, complete with state taxes, was a fake.

He, too, vowed to get back at Manning.

"There’s some stuff in the works," Decker said upon returning to Denver. "I got some intel from some people on his side."

Franklin said he uncharacteristically let his guard down Tuesday night after he’d been drafted to talk on TV about attending his first baseball game.

"I wasn’t really paying attention to it. That was stupid on my behalf, but like I said I’m looking forward to getting those guys back," Franklin said.

On the other hand, he’s glad he was finally the foil for the quarterback he protects on game day.