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According to The MMQB’s Peter King, former Indianapolis Colts legendary quarterback Peyton Manning is ‘preparing for a career‘ as an NFL general manager and potential president of football operations–similar to the role occupied by current Denver Broncos football executive John Elway:

1. I think Peyton Manning is preparing for a career as the next John Elway. Now, I said “preparing.” It’s not any sure thing he’ll do it. But he’s doing his homework, getting to know different teams, different ways of doing things. He had dinner with coach Sean McVay and GM Les Snead and COO Kevin Demoff of the Rams recently. “He’s very curious,” McVay told me. Manning as a GM and franchise architect would be quite interesting, obviously. He’d be a formidable foe, wholesale sports jerseys wherever he lands, if he chooses to do it.
Obviously, there was much speculation on whether Manning would come to the Colts during the beginning of last year’s offseason, where it was speculated he could be the ‘white knight’ to ultimately save the day from departed general manager Ryan Grigson‘s questionable decision-making.cheap sports jerseys wholesale

Six months ago, we heard rumors that the Colts and specifically team owner Jim Irsay had reached out to Manning to potentially become a football operations executive with his former franchise–although to what capacity is unclear:

“You know, I wouldn’t say that he’s in the picture,” responded Irsay on Peyton Manning potentially becoming a Colts football executive in late January. “Peyton and I have talked through the last year when he came in for the 10th year anniversary reunion. Him and I sat and had some time to talk alone, and I said I’d be happy to be a soundboard for him–asking what he was thinking about going forward his his career. That sort of thing.”

“But there was never serious negotiations or anything like that for him coming into to become general manager…Right now, it’s something where he’s not in the mix in this process for interviewing general managers.”
Of course, the rest is history, as the Colts hired highly regarded scouting executive Chris Ballard from the Kansas City Chiefs, who’s so far been as good as advertised filling his new role as the franchise’s general manager.

That being said, it’s not entirely impossible that Manning could still join the Colts–even with Ballard in the fold.

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Certainly, despite interviewing other general manager candidates, Irsay didn’t completely rule out Manning joining the Colts franchise in some executive capacity during the beginning of this offseason–even with an imminent new hire as general manager forthcoming:

“I welcome the opportunity for him and I to talk about that possibility some day that he would play some role in our organization,” added Irsay.

“I think you have to remember that it hasn’t even been a year since the confetti fell from his Denver Super Bowl victory. He’s enjoying retirement, enjoying the chance not to be downed with a schedule.”
Theoretically, the Colts could hire Manning as its president of football operations and keep Chris Ballard as the franchise’s general manager. While Manning would give the final okay on football decisions, it would be Ballard and his scouting department who would perform the majority of the ‘heavy lifting’ of the player evaluation, analysis, and decision-making process.

To be honest, it wouldn’t be all that different from a similar front office structure that the Indiana Pacers recently deployed with Larry Bird formerly as the President of Basketball Operations with Kevin Pritchard (who is now filling Bird’s old role) as then the franchise’s general manager.

Manning would be filling more of a public, figurehead role for the Colts football operations, but it would still be Ballard working predominantly behind the scenes with his scouting department.

However, while time will tell, Ballard appears to have done such a good job at first glance, that it’s arguable that bringing in another big ego and ‘chef in the kitchen’ like Manning would only complicate matters regarding decision-making. Ballard may not like the idea of reporting to another executive between him and Jim Irsay–and rightfully so, as it could be perceived as an unnecessary line of authority–especially if he’s been doing an exceptional job already.

Still, Manning returning to the Colts franchise would no doubt be a treat to its fans and be a ‘return to glory’ for the franchise, as #18 elevated the franchise to Super Bowl winning heights, is easily the greatest player in Indianapolis history, and essentially made Lucas Oil Stadium, “The House that Manning Built”. Having his brilliant football mind around the franchise and larger than life persona would certainly figure to help more than it could conceivably hurt.

However, it could be a moot point all together, as Manning could elect to join another NFL franchise as its new general manager/president of football operations.

It’s possible that other NFL franchises like the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints, etc., could also be looking for a ‘big splash’ hire and the structural stability that an NFL icon like Manning could bring, who has all the tools to be an exceptional lead football executive with his tireless work ethic and incredibly cerebral approach to football.

Having been a 2x Super Bowl Champion and just one year removed from playing football, Manning should have a pretty good idea of the kinds of players it takes to be successful in today’s game. Much like Elway, he didn’t just read about it, as he lived through it.

Right now, it appears unclear whether Manning’s next stop will in fact be with the Colts–although it cannot be completely ruled out either. However, it is starting to look like that Manning is indeed looking to get back into football, only this time with his eye on eventually becoming a lead football executive.

Where and to what capacity though is anybody’s guess.