For a quarterback who hasn’t thrown an NFL pass since 2015, Peyton Manning certainly hasn’t struggled to stay in the public spotlight.
Manning probably could not be any more content with his life.
So it comes as a mild surprise that ESPN seems so open to trying to yank Manning out of his life of leisure.
“We like Peyton Manning,” ESPN executive Stephanie Druley told Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch.
Druley was referring to the network’s interest in enlisting Manning to replace Jon Gruden in the “Monday Night Football” booth.
“We would be foolish not to talk him,” she said.
Announcing one game a week hardly seems like an exponential increase in Manning’s post-retirement work load.
That being said, ESPN most likely would ask Manning to do more than just announcing for about three hours a week, considering how much it would have to pay him and its less-than-stellar financial situations.
Would Manning want to spend time filming his own version of “Gruden’s Grinders” week in and week out, or holding a quarterback camp with NFL prospects like Gruden did?
Again, it’s not the heaviest workload by any stretch. But it’s certainly more work than Manning is doing now.
“We want someone who loves the game, who is a student of the game but who has a personality as well,” Druley said, describing her ideal candidate.
Manning would certainly be a huge get for ESPN.
Even rival fans would have to begrudgingly admit that Manning has a certain charisma and charm to him.
“We want them to have interests outside of football and the ability to connect with the viewers. We talk often about how a broadcast should personalize and analyze — and I think we need to do more of that in the MNF booth,” Druley said.
Of note, most pundits agree that it’s exceedingly unlikely that Manning could be ripped out of his lap of luxury at this moment.
In the event ESPN isn’t able to land its white whale, many believe that former Seahawks Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is the top candidate to replace Gruden.
Hasselbeck will announce the NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday in what is seen as a tryout for the “MNF” job.
“I expect Matt to be very good [at announcing the Pro Bowl] and he will certainly be considered,” Druley said.
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