Colts HC Reich Asked Peyton Manning for QB Advice After Philip Rivers Retired

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2021

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, right, talks with former Buffalo Bills quarterback Frank Reich as the football team practiced for the first time in the new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008. This was the first appearance of Manning with the team since have surgery on his left knee on July 14. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said Tuesday he reached out to team legend Peyton Manning for an opinion on some of the quarterbacks the team may target during the 2021 NFL offseason.

The Colts are seeking a replacement for Philip Rivers, who retired in January, and Reich told Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star that Manning's assessment will be held in high regard.

"After Philip retired, I started going, 'OK, here's all the quarterbacks who could be out there,'" Reich said. "And as we're talking about who's going to be our starting quarterback next year, yeah, I called Peyton and asked him his opinion on some of the guys."

He added: "There's no doubt when you're seeking counsel from other people—you might seek counsel from three or four people—but the level of expertise and dependability of their perspective, when you hear from Peyton, it obviously carries a ton of weight. It carries a ton of weight."

The Colts made a solid choice when they signed Rivers in March. The longtime Los Angeles Chargers starter completed 68 percent of his throws for 4,169 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while leading the team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth.

Indianapolis knew the 39-year-old NC State product represented a short-term option, though.

Now the question is whether the Colts will seek a similar veteran who can help the team contend immediately or search for a more long-term answer.

Reich wouldn't tip his hand during the conversation with Ayello, but he said Manning was more than willing to provide his assessment of the options:

"Peyton's great. When he has a really strong opinion, you know it's strong. And if he didn't know a guy as well, he'll tell you, 'Hey, I haven't seen as much of that guy.'

"He's got that quarterback gene in him that he generally wants to speak positively. He doesn't want to be overly critical of quarterbacks because he knows how hard the position is to play. He would typically emphasize their positive traits, and then you'd have to almost, well, he wouldn't bash guys very hard."

Manning is one of the most decorated players in NFL history with two Super Bowl titles, five MVP awards, 14 Pro Bowl selections and numerous other individual records and accolades amassed during a 17-year playing career that began with 13 years as a member of the Colts.

The 44-year-old New Orleans native is a lock to earn enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, his first on the ballot. The 2021 class will be officially announced Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl.

He's remained active around the NFL since his 2016 retirement with two shows on ESPN Plus: Peyton's Places, which looks into the history of football, and Detail, a deep dive into quarterbacks' performances.