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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

Manning, Polian could team up in Tennessee next year

December 22, 2015
KEYWORDS Sports Business

One thing is certain about Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

He’ll have a job next year. It may not be playing football, but it will almost certainly be in the NFL.

For the record, Manning, who is currently injured, has been mum on his plans for next year. Sources close to the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback say he’s still weighing the possibility of playing next year.

For years, people have been saying Manning would make a good television analyst.

But way back at the 2011 Super Bowl, Manning’s dad, Archie, told IBJ he didn’t think his son had all that much interest in a TV career.

Now it seems Peyton Manning has a strong interest in running a football team.

Colts fans don’t get too excited—yet. Though Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson might well get fired following this season, it appears more likely Manning would land in Tennessee—the state where he played college ball—or even Cleveland.

CBS Sports is reporting that there continues to be persistent chatter among NFL personnel that Manning could join his former general manager, Bill Polian, in the front office of the Tennessee Titans in 2016.
 
The Titans have an opening at team president, with interim president Steve Underwood’s contract expiring. The Titans owners have made no secret of the fact that they’d like Manning to be a big part of their front office—and that could include an ownership stake.

According to CBS Sports: “Some within the Titans organization believe a combination as Manning as a football czar (with the option to own a piece of the team even if it is sold in the next year as many around the league expect), with Bill Polian as team president, his son, Chris, as general manager and Jacksonville assistant Doug Marrone or Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase as coach is very probable for 2016.”

Archie Manning recently told WDSU-TV in New Orleans that he isn’t sure what Peyton will do next year.

“Peyton's got plenty of sense, so when everything's done at the end of the year he’ll sit down and make a decision,” Archie told WDSU. “Whatever he does, Peyton will attack it. If he steps down, he’ll find something else and go after it. If he wants to play some more, he’ll go after it.”

Manning and Polian left Indianapolis under less than ideal circumstances four years ago. Guiding a team with a good, young quarterback (Marcus Mariota) in the same division as the Colts might be appealing to the duo.

Of course, if the Tennessee scenario doesn’t work out, reports out of Cleveland say the Browns owners want Manning to guide their football operations. Could Manning nurture Johnny Manziel?

After two lousy seasons under the current regime in Cleveland, the Browns ownership is expected to clear house in the off season.

Oddly, the one place there is no talk of Manning taking a front office job is Indianapolis.

WNDE-AM 1260 reported Monday that Manning asked Colts owner Jim Irsay four years ago about one day coming back to be part of the front office and Irsay was cool to the idea.

Irsay, who has installed his three daughters as co-owners of the team, would likely have little interest in giving Manning an ownership stake. And you can bet that Irsay will never work with the Polians again. And vice versa.

As the Colts 2015 season swirls the upper reaches of the toilet bowl, Irsay has more immediate problems—and plenty of them. Coach Chuck Pagano and General Manager Ryan Grigson share the blame for flushing this season into the sewer. Both are good candidates to go after this season.

Sounds like the Colts will be in need of a good analytical football mind. And Irsay certainly has one such person in his Rolodex. But will he make the call?

And if he doesn’t—and somebody else does—will Colts fans ever forgive him?
 

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