ESPN was suddenly left with a vacancy when former Dallas Cowboy and Tennessee Volunteer Jason Witten, abruptly decided to leave the Monday Night Football booth and return to the playing field.
According to a new report, ESPN is now attempting to replace Witten with another former Volunteer, Peyton Manning.
According to the Hollywood Reporter:
ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro and content chief Connor Schell made a trip to Denver on March 11 to meet with Manning, who has been mentioned before for a broadcast role. But it’s unclear whether Manning is interested in pursuing a career as an analyst at this time. He’s done some player breakdowns for the ESPN+ plus show Detail. He’s also a successful television pitchman, showing off some comedic chops in spots for Nationwide Insurance, Papa John’s and Mastercard.
The network needs to replace Jason Witten, who in February announced that he would return to the Dallas Cowboys after one gaffe-heavy season alongside ESPN play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore and fellow analyst Booger McFarland. Manning’s name surfaced last year when ESPN was looking to replace Jon Gruden. Kurt Warner also has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Witten. ESPN declined comment.
Manning makes sense for ESPN on multiple levels. First, he is an instantly recognizable name and face to all NFL fans. Second, Manning has an infinite amount of media experience and has shown himself in commercials and on Saturday Night Live, to be really funny and good on camera. And finally, Manning is already an ESPN employee.
A factor which could work against ESPN, however, is that Manning does not need the job. The former Bronco made a ton of money in his career and still has endorsements. Meaning, Manning is more likely to decide whether to take the gig based on whether he thinks it would be fun and worth his time.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn