ESPN ‘likes’ Peyton Manning for ‘Monday Night Football’ analyst role

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BRISTOL, Conn. — ESPN says it will talk to Peyton Manning about becoming the lead game analyst on “Monday Night Football.”

The former Broncos quarterback has not shown any interest in broadcasting since he retired from the NFL after the 2016 season, but that won’t stop the sports network from approaching him for the role.

“We like Peyton Manning,” ESPN executive Stephanie Druley told Sports Illustrated. “And we would be foolish not to talk him.”

Druley said Manning is aware of ESPN’s interest but that the two sides have not spoke further about the possibility.

The “Monday Night Football” role opened when Jon Gruden returned to coaching as coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Manning played five seasons for the Broncos, leading them to the AFC West title each year and the Super Bowl in the 2014 and 2016 seasons.

They lost Super Bowl XLVIII to the Seattle Seahawks, 43-8, and beat the Carolina Panthers, 24-10, in Super Bowl 50. Manning retired after that season.

If the network can’t convince Manning, Sports Illustrated reports Matt Hasselbeck is one of the leading candidates for the job. Hasselbeck will call the Pro Bowl for ESPN on Sunday.

“We are considering Matt, for sure,” Druley said. “I would not consider the Pro Bowl an audition per se. When we hired Matt a few years ago there were other networks that wanted Matt as a game analyst. I expect Matt to be very good this and he will certainly be considered.”

The network is also considering analysts from its “Sunday NFL Countdown” show.

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