Renowned for his decision-making as a quarterback, Peyton Manning has once again made the right read. Since Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) announced he would be retiring from the Senate at the end of his current term, people have been floating Peyton Manning as a potential candidate for next fall’s election.
In 2017, that somehow makes sense; Manning is wildly popular in Tennessee, and as we saw with Tom Osborn in Nebraska, college football legends can get an easy jumpstart to their political careers. Generally seen as someone who leans conservative, (Manning donated to Jeb Bush’s doomed 2016 campaign, for example, and played golf with Corker and Donald Trump this summer), there would have been very little standing between Manning and a seat in the United State’s highest legislative body. (Well, aside from lack of political experience, which has obviously been so important for voters lately.)
Indeed, Corker himself suggested Manning would be a great candidate, and essentially a shoe-in for the seat. From Politico:
“If he were to run nobody in their right mind would consider running against him,” Corker said, though he warned: “I would not be putting in the headlines today that he’s going to be running for the Senate.”
“Peyton Manning is the kind of guy that would be great in public office. … I think it’s possible. Is it likely? I don’t think so,” Corker said. “If he got a huge rush of public inquiries it would probably push him away.”
And that’s apparently exactly what happened, as Manning has already ruled himself out of the race today in an interview with Nashville sports station:
“I certainly have an interest in politics and in our country,” the former NFL and University of Tennessee quarterback told WGFX-FM. “I just have zero interest in being a politician.”
Manning has so far resisted overtures from various broadcast networks as well, so this probably shouldn’t be a surprise. He’s only been retired since the summer of 2016, and he certainly doesn’t have to worry about money. We’ll probably have to wait a few years for Manning to enter politics. It’s also probably a smart call; entering the political world in 2017 is a great way to demonize yourself in the eyes of plenty. It’s hard to imagine a more divisive environment once the next president gets elected, and that makes it easier for someone like Manning, who clearly cares about his image and legacy.