Peyton Manning did what few NFL players get to do; Manning won a Super Bowl, and then rode off into the sunset, apropos of his moniker as “The Sheriff.”
Without countless hours dedicated to training and film study, Manning has plenty of free time on his calendar.
Manning took that free time to play a round of golf with Donald Trump, but was it solely an afternoon of golfing?
There are whispers that Manning could be considering a future in politics.
From Yahoo! Sports:
We all wondered what second career Peyton Manning would pick up in retirement, but he seems content doing a little bit of everything.
If Manning had a regular job, he might not have been able to golf with the President of the United States on Sunday.
Manning and President Donald Trump, along with Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, spent Sunday at Trump National Golf Course according to CNN. Although the White House wouldn’t say what Trump and Manning were doing, they spent four-and-a-half hours at the golf club and when Manning and Corker got back to the White House as part of Trump’s motorcade, they unloaded golf clubs while wearing golf attire. Let’s guess they were golfing.
According to CNN, Manning was in Washington to receive the Lincoln Medal at Ford’s Theatre in Washington on Sunday night, given to a person who “exemplifies the lasting legacy and mettle of character embodied by the most beloved president in our nation’s history, President Abraham Lincoln.” Trump attended that ceremony.
Manning is also going to host the ESPY awards this summer, have his number retired and get a statue from the Indianapolis Colts in the fall, and basically do whatever else he wants because he is enjoying the free time he never had while playing quarterback for the Colts and Denver Broncos.
The relationship between Manning and Trump hasn’t been broken down like the friendship of Tom Brady and Trump, but there appears to be some mutual admiration. It was reported in January that Manning would be a speaker at a GOP retreat after Trump’s inauguration. Trump said before Super Bowl 50 that he was rooting for the Broncos and that Manning was a “very good guy.”
If Manning ever does decide to work again, maybe politics will be his future. If he goes that route, he has some connections at the top.
Others further speculated that the round of golf could be a signal of Manning’s potential political aspirations.
From the Tennessean:
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) June 5, 2017
Manning has repeatedly denied any interest in seeking political office, but has also appeared close to prominent politicians, almost all Republicans. Sunday’s appearance is the latest, which again has stoked the rumors that Manning might consider a political career.
A few days after Trump’s inauguration, Manning spoke to a group of Republican lawmakers at a retreat in Philadelphia attended by some of the most prominent, including Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Manning has also been a donor to Republican campaigns in the past.
John Geer, a Princeton-educated political science professor at Vanderbilt, said Manning would make “a formidable candidate” should he choose to run someday, but there are still many questions and considerable time before that possible scenario playing out.
“Certainly he has some time to think about it,” Geer said, who noted the golf outing could be innocuous.
“It’s also true (Manning) is probably a good golf companion,” Geer said.
It’s highly unlikely that Manning would challenge Corker given their friendship, and also unlikely he’d challenge Sen. Lamar Alexander, but that could change if Alexander decides to retire, Geer said..
“It’s fun to think about these things, but his choices are going to be shaped by the choices of others, most notably Sen. Alexander,” Geer said.
Trump and Manning’s round of golf could be just that–a round of golf. But people will have fun speculating on what Manning’s future may hold.
People like Manning are hard-wired to compete at the highest level. Nobody expects him to sit around and play golf all day.
If Manning doesn’t take a job in football, either in the analyst booth or within an organization, prognostications about a political future will only continue to grow.