HOOVER, Ala.– The ultimate Tennessee fan’s dream? Peyton Manning patrolling the sidelines on Rocky Top during Saturdays in the fall.
And while that seems like a pretty far-fetched fantasy, getting the program’s legendary quarterback involved more in Year 2 of retirement seems like a healthy expectation. A year after facing a question about whether or not Manning was someone to consider as a college coach one day (he’s probably not), Jones was again asked to address Manning’s relationship with the program during his appearance in the main ballroom at the 2017 SEC Media Days on Monday.
“Coach, I know last year Peyton Manning said he didn’t have any interest in being a coach at the college level, but I know you talked to him. What indications has he given you, if any, that maybe at some point down the road he’d like to be a bigger part of the program in some capacity or another?”
Jones didn’t shy away from the question. In fact, he opened up a bit about his relationship with the Vols legend and his expectations for what the future may hold:
“Peyton and I are in constant dialogue. We’re in constant communication,” Jones said at SEC Media Days on Monday. “I think right now he’s enjoying retirement. I know he’s looking forward to hosting the ESPYS coming up. But he’s an individual that we really tried to really involve him in our program, as much as he can because he has many things going on right now. And we had an opportunity to bring him back about a month ago and be able to see our quarterbacks and talk with them and just get around our football team, which obviously is extremely healthy for everyone.
“But, again, I know he has plans down the road, and he’ll be successful in anything that he chooses to do. But we try to involve him as much in our program as possible.”
Stay tuned, Tennessee fans. If Butch keeps asking him to be around, Peyton may just decide he likes being back on Rocky Top.