Let the speculation begin.
Scratch that. The speculation regarding Peyton Manning’s post-football career began the minute he retired as a player.
And of course, some of that speculation has swirled around his first team, the Indianapolis Colts. With the way the team has played over the last 2-1/2 seasons, it’s no wonder.
So let the speculation begin—to heat up. Or re-heat up, depending on who’s keeping score.
The latest blast of hot air comes to football fans courtesy of Manning’s former Colts coach, Tony Dungy.
Dungy said on Monday’s Dan Patrick radio show that he has talked to Manning since his retirement as a player, and based on those conversations, Dungy thinks Manning will be in a football front office job within five years.
Perhaps the real shocker is that Dungy, who retired as a football coach in 2009 and has since been working for NBC-TV, said he’d seriously consider joining Manning’s staff if asked. Dungy, 62, didn’t say in what capacity he’d be willing to work—but on Monday he certainly didn’t rule out being a head coach again under Manning.
Patrick asked what Manning will be doing five years from now.
“I tend to think he’s in the front office somewhere,” Dungy said. “I’ve talked to Peyton about what he wants to do. He’s balancing TV—doing what we do—versus [working in an NFL team] front office. He loves football. He loves the day-to-day interaction.
“But I think in his heart, he knows if he goes to a team, it’s going to be 20 hours a day,” Dungy added.
“Would you follow him?” Patrick said, cutting off Dungy.
“Yes, yes I would,” Dungy quickly replied. “I think he’ll be great. He spent so much time around [former Colts football operations boss] Bill Polian, he understands the game.”
Patrick cut off Dungy again.
“Now, by follow him, I mean would you work with Peyton?” Patrick said during the rapid-fire interview.
“Personally work with him?” shot back Dungy, who works with Patrick on NBC’s Sunday Night Football studio show. “I’ll be … 67 in five years.”
“So what!” responded Patrick as Dungy chuckled.
Then Dungy struck a more serious tone.
“You know what, if he called and said I want you to be in my organization, I would have to think about it,” Dungy said. “I have that much respect for him.”
Then the joking rekindled when Patrick asked “even if it was in Cleveland.”
Dungy said he couldn’t talk his wife into moving to Cleveland.
Dungy made no mention of Indianapolis, which would seem like a logical landing spot for Manning if he decides to go to work in an NFL front office.
And, oddly, neither did Patrick.
Chris Ballard is in his first year as Colts general manager, and even though the team has floundered with quarterback Andrew Luck out all season with a shoulder injury, most NFL owners—under normal circumstances—would deem it too early to make a change.
But if Manning becomes available as a GM, that’s not a normal circumstance. And, you have to figure, if Manning is willing to work for the Colts, that team owner would be reluctant to let him get away and become a success somewhere else—again.
Irsay cut Manning loose after the 2011 season after the star quarterback missed the entire year with a neck injury. Manning came back and played four season with the Broncos, taking the team to two Super Bowls and winning one.