Peyton Manning has now rejected multiple top offers from ESPN to call “Monday Night Football,” but he’s sure making it sound like he still has eyes for the broadcast booth.
Fresh off his triumph alongside Tiger Woods in “The Match,” the future Hall of Famer appeared on “The Rich Eisen Show” on Tuesday and faced the inevitable question about his interest in a possible broadcasting career.
Manning indicated he was interested, just not right now.
He's been courted (reportedly) with millions, so will we see Peyton Manning in the broadcast booth anytime soon? pic.twitter.com/Hcn0nBf0Kv— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 26, 2020
“I haven’t said no forever. I said no to this year,” Manning said. “This doesn’t feel like the right time. I hate having this sort of check-with-me-next-year type deal, but that’s really how I have approached this chapter. I believe in taking it a year at a time.”
“Just not in the cards for me right now, can’t really say never forever.”
Since his retirement in 2016, Manning has garnered massive interest from networks as a color commentator, and it’s not hard to see why. Between his name recognition, reputation as a cerebral player and considerable experience on television between commercials and shows on ESPN+, there isn’t a more surefire prospect for broadcasting than Manning.
ESPN went as far reportedly offering a salary between $18 million and $20 million to Manning earlier this offseason, well above the record-breaking $14 million per year that Tony Romo got from CBS.
When will Peyton Manning enter the booth?
There are likely multiple reasons for Manning’s hesitancy to step into the broadcast booth. Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported last year that Manning didn’t want to call games while his brother Eli and possibly some of his former teammates were still playing. That obstacle dissipates with each passing year, but could still be a factor.
Manning also made hundreds of millions of dollars during his playing career and continues to make money through his ESPN+ shows and advertising spots, so even a $20 million salary isn’t as a big a lure as it would be for other players. The man might just want to enjoy his retirement and time with his family for a while before taking a job that would have him out of town for much of football season.
Obviously, things can change over the course of a few years, but Manning seems to be making it pretty clear he feels no rush to pick up the microphone.
“I don’t really have a five-year plan or a 10-year plan,” Manning said. “I loved playing football. I loved everything about it. I’ve just tried to ease into this second chapter by keeping myself busy, keeping myself stimulated, creating a lot of time for my family and to do some things I haven’t had a chance to do.
“Look, I love watching the games, Rich. I love going to games. We still go to all the Broncos games. I get to Colts games. I kind of catch myself sort of analyzing a game in my head when I’m watching it. I kind of always did that. As a player, when you watch other games, you sort of play the games in your mind.”
Manning also pointed to how Eli is approaching his new retirement, saying the New York Giants veteran is taking retirement a year at a time. He also questioned his younger brother’s teaching abilities.
“He’s taking this year off,” Manning said. “It’s not really the way he wanted to start. He’s living in quarantine, he’s teaching his nine-year-old daughter. Common denominators, god bless my niece, knowing Eli and his teaching skills, wow.”
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