Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has been hired by helmet manufacturer Riddell as a strategic adviser on product development, the company announced Wednesday.
The five-time NFL MVP, who retired after the 2015 season, wore Riddell's helmets and shoulder pads throughout his career. His insights will be used to help inform the many aspects of helmet design and development for the company.
He also will work with the company as its first brand ambassador through its grass-roots initiative "Smarter Football."
Riddell also designs and develops other protective sports equipment, head impact monitoring technologies, apparel and related accessories.
"I have been fortunate to play the game of football," Manning says, "and partnering with Riddell is the right opportunity to positively impact the sport when protection is a constant focus for athletes of all ages.
"This is something I am personally invested in. I've always wanted to serve as an ambassador to the game and my role with Riddell enables me to expand my contributions to football."
NFL players are allowed to choose their own helmets, though from 1989-2014, Riddell had exclusivity for on-field marketing. Other companies couldn't have their logo on helmets used in games during those years.
Each year, the league and the players' association test helmets, then release the results to the clubs and players.
"Peyton will leverage his strong connection to the game to highlight Riddell's efforts to innovate protective equipment," Riddell CEO Dan Arment said. "As a strategic adviser, Peyton will provide his perspective and insights to the Riddell team as the company brings new products to the field. His years of on-field NFL experience and involvement in the game will help provide guidance to the development of future protective equipment."
Manning called his involvement with Riddell in enhancing player safety "the right fit for me."
"Throughout my playing career I had great confidence in wearing and playing with Riddell equipment," he said. "Riddell has always been on the forefront of innovation in football helmets and protective equipment. Together, we can continue to improve athlete protection in football and help foster growth in the game."