Peyton Manning’s post-career hobby could finally be coming into view.
Manning is considering an offer from billionaire Ben Navarro to join his group that is bidding on ownership of the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday. Navarro is considered the leading bidder of four groups seeking majority control over the franchise, which it has lacked since longtime owner Jerry Richardson stepped down in the midst of an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual and racial misconduct against him.
The potential partnership is Manning’s first foray into the public spotlight since he turned down first ESPN DIS, -1.79% , then Fox FOX, -0.56% on their offers of becoming the lead analyst on “Monday Night Football” and “Thursday Night Football,” respectively.
The five-time MVP quarterback retired in 2016, ironically after his Broncos defeated the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Manning, 42, is an attractive option for Navarro due to his NFL track record, marketable persona and millions in earnings, both from his football career and numerous endorsement deals.
NFL officials were hopeful the Panthers’ new ownership could be chosen at the spring meeting in Atlanta on May 21-23, but the uncertainty surrounding the identity of the bidders may delay the vote.
Navarro is reportedly offering $2.6 billion for the purchase of the Panthers. Navarro’s competition includes hedge fund manager and Steelers part-owner David Tepper, Canadian steel company CEO Alan Kestenbaum and e-commerce entrepreneur Michael Rubin.