Bill Belichick on Peyton Manning: “Not real excited” to face him

FOXBOROUGH — Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he kept a close watch on what was perhaps the biggest story of the NFL offseason — former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning hitting the open market as a free agent, touching off a frenzy among several teams for his services.

“Definitely interested to see where [he ended up],” Belichick said during his Monday press conference at Gillette Stadium following Sunday’s 52-28 victory at Buffalo. “He’s been an impact player for whatever team he’s on, so I’m not saying that I’m real excited about having to face him again. But you’ve got to play somebody.”

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This Sunday, the Patriots will renew their rivalry against their old nemesis — who landed in Denver after an offseason courtship that involved Miami, Arizona, and Tennessee — when they face Manning and the Broncos at Gillette Stadium.

Manning parted ways with the Colts as part of a youth movement in Indianapolis, which selected Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. Manning has the Broncos at 2-2, having completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,162 yards and 8 touchdowns, with 3 interceptions.

“It’s a great competitive [situation] with Denver as well as with Peyton,” Belichick said. “So now those two are combined.”