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Peyton Manning explains when (or if) he'd like to run an NFL team

Peyton Manning threw his last pass in Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, 2016, but don't you dare say he's retired. The 43-year-old keeps busy with a number of projects, to the point where his schedule is packed for the next year-plus.

"I’m not sitting on my couch and I’m not sleeping in, in the afternoons. I like my kids seeing me up. I’m going to work," Manning told NBC's Peter King. "Whatever it is I’m doing, a version of work.”

The most high-profile of those projects is his upcoming ESPN+ show "Peyton's Places," where Manning travels around the country tracing the past and present of pro football in celebration of the NFL's 100th season. The bulk of King's article focuses on Manning's work with the show, but any conversation between Manning and a football reporter is obligated to include a detour to ask when Manning will return to football in an official capacity.

“I’ve had talks with a few teams. It never got into any type of negotiation, if you will," Manning said. "I think a couple teams have expressed interest … I’ve given them that same answer. I’ve listened. I just said, that’s a job that is not a one-foot, dip-your-toes-in-the-water job. It is all-in, all-encompassing. I guess because I have that respect for the job and what it is, what it takes, that that’s why I’ve passed at this point. At some point, maybe I am ready to say, ‘Hey I’m all in.’ But I’m just not there yet.”

King knows Manning as well as anyone in the media, so his thoughts are worth sharing as well:

Over the last four years, since Manning won the Super Bowl with Denver, we’ve all tried to pick Manning’s next road. Trust me now: He’s not sure what it is either. I pried. I tried. I got nothing. I really thing he’s going to keep his mind open. One day I bet he’ll pull an Elway and run a team. Maybe he’ll own one, with a football sugar daddy with billion-dollar deep pockets. But I don’t think even he knows that now.

If and when any team makes a full-fledged run at Manning to put his side projects away and run their football operations full-time, they can expect serious competition -- not only from their fellow teams, but from the TV networks.

Peyton has been the NFL TV world's white whale these past three years, as all four of the networks that air NFL games would trip over themselves to pay him top-of-the-industry money (we're talking $8 million a year or so) to talk football.... while also giving him six months off a year. A GM job probably isn't beating that money, and it certainly isn't beating that free time.

But, knowing Peyton as we all do, it's hard to imagine his work ethic and his competitive juices allow him to be satisfied simply talking about the action, rather than being involved himself. Manning seems to have more Jason Witten in him than Tony Romo.

So, yeah, the bet here is that Manning eventually pulls a John Elway and runs his own team, but the timing on that long-anticipated move is anyone's guess, even Peyton's.

Read the full piece here.