SAN FRANCISCO — The man who brought Peyton Manning into the league is not convinced that the quarterback is ready to leave it.
Bill Polian, the Hall of Fame general manager who drafted Manning for the Colts with the first overall selection in the 1998 draft, said on Thursday that he does not know whether Manning will retire following Super Bowl 50. “And,” he added, “I’m not sure he knows.”
Polian said after a season ends, Manning typically retreats to places where he feels comfortable, away from the spotlight, for six to eight weeks after the season.
“He recharges his batteries, rethinks, and then comes back,” he said. “I anticipate that he’ll do the same thing this time. It may not be as long this time, but I think he’ll take that time to reflect.”
Polian is now an ESPN analyst, but he has ties to both teams in the Super Bowl. He was the first general manager for the Panthers when they became an expansion franchise in 1995. He remains close to that team as well, but he made it clear which side he will be rooting for on Sunday.
“Even though I have friends with both franchises and you root for your friends, I got this ring and the gold jacket that is hanging in the closet courtesy of him,” he said of Peyton. “ So my heart is with him on Sunday.”