INDIANAPOLIS —Even in retirement, Peyton Manning remains one of the NFL's top free agents.
The legendary Indianapolis Colts quarterback, who retired following the 2015 season, has taken on a number of smaller projects since his playing days have ended (see below), but has yet to really take a big step towards a more full-time endeavor (not that he has to; there's nothing wrong with taking Tony Dungy's advice and playing things by ear).
Over the last couple years, rumors, as they tend to do, have grown rampant that Manning is considering a career in politics or as an NFL team general manager/top executive. Neither, of course, have come to fruition, and Manning has said himself he has "no interest in the political world."
But another rumor that's been gaining steam in recent weeks is that Manning will be in the broadcast booth full-time as an analyst during the upcoming 2018 NFL season.
This gossip only grew in January, when Jon Gruden was hired as the Oakland Raiders' new head coach, leaving the analyst role with ESPN's Monday Night Football crew wide open.
While ESPN is yet to announce who will take on that role moving forward, it’s also been reported recently that FOX is trying to lure Manning to its Thursday Night Football crew, creating a competition of sorts between ESPN and FOX for one of the largest (if not most entertaining) personalities in the game.
So what does Manning have to say about all this? Well, he was asked about his future and the possibility of joining the Monday Night Football crew recently during a press conference for the 48th annual 101 Awards, where Manning was named the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football recipient.
"Yeah, I don't know," Manning said, via ThePostGame.com. "Monday Night Football is an iconic institution; it's received the Lamar Hunt Award. You know, I certainly enjoy listening; thinking about things. This is a second chapter for me that — I think the best advice I got was, 'Don't rush into something. Take your time and think about things.' So I continue to listen and I continue to think, and at the same time staying busy and stimulated enough and having some free time to do some things that I haven't had a chance to do in 25 years."
Manning said that having the chance to be involved in his young children's lives has been "really special."
"I've got the father-daughter dance coming up (in) two weeks in Denver; it's going to be a very important night," Manning said. "So I will be primed and ready for that."
So what does Manning want to do? One thing's for sure: he's well aware of those who seem to know the answer to that question for him:
"I don't know. A lot of people seem to know what I'm going to be doing — they haven't asked me yet, or I haven't been informed yet," Manning said sarcastically. "So I kind of sometimes like to keep up with what it is that I'm doing; I sort of find out from other people."
Manning said he still feels "stimulated" doing "lots of different things." Most of all, he considers himself an ambassador to the game of football and for the NFL. But since his retirement, he's taken on a number of smaller projects, including (but not limited to):
• Being a guest host on TV shows
• Being a featured roaster on Comedy Central
• Joining Riddell as a strategic advisor
• Driving the pace car at the DAYTONA 500
But football will always remain Manning's primary focus, he said.
"I still consider myself an ambassador to the game — certainly a fan of the game," Manning said. "Went to a lot of football games last year; go to all of the Broncos' home games, made three New York Giants games, I get back to the University of Tennessee, my alma mater, saw them play three times this year. So, shockingly, football is still a part of my life.
"But I kind of enjoy doing it sort of on my own terms and being a fan, being an ambassador (and) also having a chance to do some different things outside of football at the same time. Philanthropy is certainly one of them."