Fox and ESPN reportedly were pursuing Manning to fill their vacant color analyst positions, but a TV job is believed to be lower on Manning’s list of priorities than an opportunity involving ownership or working in the front office of an NFL team.
Manning turned down ESPN — which is replacing Jon Gruden after he spent nine years on “Monday Night Football” — earlier this month. The Fox job was believed to be more appealing to Manning than joining MNF because it would require a lesser commitment, with fewer games each year (11 instead of 16) and more work during the week instead of on weekends.
The Sporting News reported two weeks ago that Fox was targeting Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten as a fallback if it didn’t land Manning, but Witten recently restructured his contract with the team and intends to keep playing.
With Manning now out, the Post reports Fox is expected to consider NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner, while Witten, recently retired Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and recently retired Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas were each brought in for auditions.
As for ESPN’s search, the Post reports the network is considering Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, Warner, Matt Hasselbeck, Louis Riddick, Randy Moss and even Brett Favre as a long-shot candidate. Riddick might be paired with another analyst in a three-man booth.
Like Witten, Olsen is expected to continue his playing career in 2018.