INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning has heard a joke or two about his head over the years.
But now, the future Pro Football Hall of Famer has a new job helping protect the noggins of several current — and future — players.
On Wednesday, Riddell, one of the more popular helmet and equipment brands in the National Football League, announced that the legendary Indianapolis Colts quarterback has been brought on as a "strategic advisor," as well as the company's "first-ever brand ambassador supporting the football community."
Dan Arment, Riddell's President and CEO, said Manning simply "is synonymous with football."
"His contributions on and off the field help advance the sport, and benefit athletes at all levels," Arment said in a press release. "We are honored that Manning joined Riddell as a business advisor and brand ambassador as we work together to lead the sport of football to a stronger future."
While Manning has (infamously) endorsed a large number of products and services over the years — a list that has gotten even longer since his retirement following the 2015 season — his work with Riddell represents a company with which he has a great deal of personal experience. He wore Riddell's helmets and shoulder pads throughout his career, and he was also one of the first players in the NFL to wear the Riddell Revolution helmet, which "transformed the development of today's football helmets with its research-based design."
While he will have other duties with the company — such as community and charitable endeavors and other special projects — Manning is also expected to play a role in Riddell's product development, lending his expertise in the rapidly-growing field of helmet technology and player safety.
"Riddell is one of the most recognizable brands in football and has long maintained its leadership position through meaningful improvements in player protection and game-tested innovation," Manning said in Wednesday's release. "Riddell is also doing great work to educate the football community about new protective technology, the importance of proper equipment management, and coordinating initiatives that make new gear available to football programs in need."
Manning joining Riddell represents the five-time NFL MVP's first official job since his retirement after capturing Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos.
For now, he's likely ruled out an immediate career as a football broadcaster (a la Tony Romo), while a role in the Colts' front office — which was rumored after the team parted ways with general manager Ryan Grigson in January — also wasn't in the cards.
But now comes the fun part. Let's see if Manning sneaks in any Riddell references next month, when he hosts the 25th ESPYS awards show, or maybe, as his statue nears its completion, he'll insist upon his sculpted helmet having the Riddell logo prominently displayed before it is placed in its spot outside of Lucas Oil Stadium in October.
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