INDIANAPOLIS —Record-setting quarterback. Two-time Super Bowl champion. Witty salesman.
Peyton Manning can certainly lay claim to those first three descriptions, but if a recent report from The Charlotte Obersver's Joseph Person is true, the Indianapolis Colts legend is at least tossing around the idea of becoming the latter.
Manning, according to Person, is "considering" an offer from Charleston, S.C., billionaire Ben Navarro to join a potential ownership group that would be bidding to buy the Carolina Panthers franchise.
Person confirmed the news with two sources with knowledge of the discussions who "spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the Panthers' sale."
There's been great interest and intrigue into Manning's future plans after his retirement from the NFL following the 2016 season. He said numerous times he was going to heed the advice of his former head coach, Tony Dungy, and take his time to really figure out what he wanted to do as more of a full-time endeavor.
So over the past couple years, Manning, 42, has taken on many smaller projects more befitting of a retired NFL legend, appearing as a guest host on TV shows; being a featured roaster on Comedy Central; continuing his efforts as an advertising legend; joining Riddell as a strategic advisor; dropping aces on the golf course; driving the pace car at the DAYTONA 500; hoppin' on stage and singin’ tunes with country music stars — and even turning down a possible comeback offer.
Manning has also ruled out other potentially interesting career options. He said he has "no interest in the political world," and while he briefly considered jumping into the broadcast booth with either ESPN or FOX for the 2018 season, he recently turned down those reported offers, too.
But a career back in the NFL — particularly in the front office — has always seemed to make the most sense for Manning, at least to those who know him best.
His name was thrown around in January 2017 as a possible general manager candidate in Indianapolis (Colts owner Jim Irsay later said there were "never any serious negotiations," however, and the team eventually hired Chris Ballard), and Manning reportedly was approached about a possible position in the Cleveland Browns' front office last fall, but was never formally offered a position, according to Person.
Navarro, according to The Charlotte Observer, is one of four known bidders on the Panthers' franchise, and is the favorite candidate of Mark Richardson, the son of former Carolina owner Jerry Richardson.
A controlling owner of an NFL team must acquire at least 30 percent equity in the club, and as many as 25 individuals can also join in as partners.
The hope was the owners could vote to approve a new ownership group for the Panthers by the NFL's spring meeting May 21-23 in Atlanta, but, according to Person, "it's unclear whether that is still a realistic timetable."