According to the owner, the Colts were in talks to hire the all-time great back in 2016 in an executive role.
The Colts were in a bad way after they fired Ryan Grigson as their GM back in 2016. There were all kinds of rumors flying around about who they might hire, including possibly bringing back Peyton Manning. Those rumors almost became reality according to Jim Irsay.
Apparently the Colts almost hired Manning as a General Manager/President of Operations, according to the IndyStar. Irsay said that talks were “serious” with Manning and that there was mutual interest. Both were interested in making it work, but Manning ultimately declined.
Manning said he was interested in the position, but it wasn’t the right time. He wanted to spend more time with his family, as he hadn’t been retired for that long. He wasn’t ready for the long hours that the position demanded at that time in his life.
Irsay revealed these details at the owners meetings in Arizona. Irsay also constantly praised Chris Ballard for the job he has done since getting hired in 2016. He said that he made the right hire taking Ballard because of his roster building in his short tenure.
The Colts are in a great position to contend because of the position that Ballard has put them in. Would Manning have been able to put them in the same position? It’s hard to know. Manning has never been in a position like that with any team, so it’s hard to know how he would do.
It would be interesting to see if the Colts would consider asking him again if Ballard somehow starts to do poorly. At that point, Manning might be ready to take on that challenge. But for now, it seems like they have made the right decision.