It has long been assumed that Peyton Manning would return to football in some sort of a John Elway-esq role at some point in the future. Here in Indianapolis, the assumption is that he'll return to the Colts, a franchise where he spent thirteen years, with that return coming as early as next season.
However, Colts' beat writer and weekly guest of our show, Stephen Holder, isn't buying it.
Holder took to Twitter last night to shoot down rumors that Manning would be part of the Colts' braintrust next season, saying that Jim Irsay has given new GM Chris Ballard the controls:
Nope. I do not believe those rumors in any way, shape or form. https://t.co/b2Nq6djQgu— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) October 26, 2017
Always reluctant to chime in on rumors, but Chris Ballard did NOT come here to work for Peyton Manning. Ballard is running sh-- here. Period https://t.co/nsr10CXwAr— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) October 26, 2017
Ballard is a sharp guy, and it's certainly feasible that the Colts feel comfortable letting him run the show like Bill Polian did for many years.
But, here's where I get hung up: if, hypothetically, Manning wanted to become the President of the Colts, how could Irsay say no? The Colts' owner has seen his franchise get beat up locally and nationally for two-plus years, and he knows hiring Manning would be universally praised as a "genius" move. What if Irsay turned him down leaving Manning to join the Titans or another NFL team? Fans here would burn down Lucas Oil Stadium.
So, in my opinion, it's awfully tough to slam the door on Peyton returning here. If he wants to be an NFL executive and wants to be here - all signs point to yes on the first part, and there's no reason to believe he wouldn't be interested in the second part - I can't imagine the Colts wouldn't make room for him.