Senator Peyton Manning?

Marky Billson

The news Bob Corker (R-TN) would not seek re-election next year for his Senate seat was perhaps overshadowed by a report Peyton Manning might wish to represent Tennessee in such a capacity.

If it happens, Manning evidently won’t be for Corker’s seat, but Congressman Tom DesJarlais of Tennessee’s fourth district, a gerrymandered district in south central- or middle- Tennessee that contains Murfreesboro but not Nashville, Cleveland but not Chattanooga, says Manning is a potential candidate for the Senate in 2020 when Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will be 80 and be ripe for retirement.

Intriguing, though Manning did say this year he was not interested in running for office.

Still, if Manning has changed his mind about a career in politics, I would advise him to run now for Corker’s seat, not Alexander’s in three years.

Manning has been a donor to the Corker campaign, he gave the maximum $2,000 allotted for such donations during Corker’s first run for the Senate in 2006, so would likely have the popular incumbent’s support.

Plus Manning’s star is bright now. In 2020 he’ll be five years off the gridiron and presumably won’t be making as many television advertisements as before. While those under 25 currently don’t remember Manning as anything but a pro quarterback, that age pushes 30 by 2020.

But if the GOP wishes to maximize on Manning’s “Rock Star” appeal they’ll push for Manning to run now, not in the future. His star will fall the longer he’s away from his playing career.

Marsha Blackburn’s will not.

Still, the jobs it seems most people in Tennessee would like Manning to have, Vols coach or United States Senator, would likely damage his reputation. Run for office, and his rival candidates will likely bring up his locker room digressions with Jamie Naughright or if he took Human Growth Hormone and goodness knows what else.

Become a coach, and he loses his royalty status. Johnny Majors has done more for the Tennessee football program than Manning has, but he was run out of Knoxville after a three game losing streak in 1992.

What Manning did in 1997 won’t matter if he can’t get productivity out of Quentin Dormady as a quarterbacks coach in 2018.

Besides, with the pay cut and long hours, Manning isn’t going to become a full-time coach.

I’m not sure if we can look to Manning to be a Senator, either, but it is an intriguing possibility.

I think if Manning were to decide to run for the Senate from Tennessee he’d win.

But his reputation wouldn’t.

Marky Billson hosts Tri-Cities Sports NOW, heard weekdays from 12–2 p.m. ET on 1420 NBC Sports Radio Tri-Cities. It can be heard on IHeartRadio and TuneIn.

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