Prior to last year, a spot opened up in the Monday Night Football booth on ESPN, as Jon Gruden left to become the coach of the Oakland Raiders.
Though ESPN flirted with former Tennessee QB Peyton Manning, the two-time Super Bowl champion passed. That led the Worldwide Leader to hire another former Vol — Jason Witten — instead.
Now, though, Witten is returning to the NFL as a player, so the chase for Manning was on once again. However, on Monday, it was reported by SportingNews.com that Manning had once again passed on the opportunity:
The mating dance has ended. Peyton Manning will not join ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” booth this season, sources tell Sporting News.
ESPN held out hope that Manning would fill the hole left by Jason Witten’s return to the Cowboys. But barring a miracle, sources said, Manning will not be in the booth when “Monday Night Football” kicks off its historic 50th season.
The reason? The report says that with all the money Manning has earned over the years, he may be more interested in an eventual ownership role with the league:
So what’s holding Manning back? He envisions himself as more of an NFL owner or front-office leader a la John Elway of the Broncos, sources said. Agreeing to “Monday Night Football” would also lock him into a more grueling travel schedule than shooting “Peyton’s Places” on his own time.
It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for Manning, but for now, it seems he’s enjoying retirement and working on pet projects in his free time.