Legendary NFL quarterback Peyton Manning reportedly has decided he won't join ESPN as a Monday Night Football commentator, but he's still considering an opportunity to become part of Fox Sports' new Thursday night football package.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported the update Friday, noting sources said Manning preferred Fox because "it would not require working the weekend" and features a smaller schedule with 11 potential games compared to 19 for ESPN. He's still "undecided" about entering the broadcast booth, though.
Offers from both companies had reached $10 million per year as part of a concerted effort to land the 14-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion, per Michael McCarthy of Sporting News.
Manning's value likely increased during the 2017 season thanks to a strong debut broadcasting campaign from former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. He drew praise for his ability to read defenses and predict how the offense would respond, a trait Manning could probably replicate.
Earlier Friday, former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick mentioned during a discussion with Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch how the lighter workload was a possible reason for the longtime Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos signal-caller to choose Fox since ESPN usually expects its analysts to appear across various platforms and shows:
"Yeah, I don't know. Monday Night Football is an iconic institution; it's received the Lamar Hunt Award. You know, I certainly enjoy listening; thinking about things. This is a second chapter for me that—I think the best advice I got was, 'Don't rush into something. Take your time and think about things.' So I continue to listen and I continue to think, and at the same time staying busy and stimulated enough and having some free time to do some things that I haven't had a chance to do in 25 years."
He didn't provide a timetable for a final decision.