When U.S. Sen. Bob Corker announced Tuesday that he would not be running for re-election next year, the speculation began almost instantly. Will former Vol and NFL quarterback Peyton Manning run for his seat?
Manning himself shot down the possibility during an interview Wednesday on Nashville sports talk radio show 3HL.
When asked if he was entertaining a run for Senate, Manning said, "No. Zero consideration."
"I certainly have interest in politics and in our country. I just have zero interest in being a politician," Manning said.
Peyton Manning said, “I certainly have an interest in politics and in our country. I just have zero interest in being a politician."— 3HL (@3HL1045) September 27, 2017
Manning is certainly popular enough in the state of Tennessee to get the votes, and it's not the first time that his name has been mentioned for political office.
Corker addressed the conjecture Wednesday from his office in Washington, D.C.
"Peyton is the kind of person I hope will be in public office someday, or in public service in some way," he said. "He's just a good person."
But Corker said he didn't think now is the time.
"I know he's enjoying the private time has has right now with the kids, coaching his 6-year-old son's team," he said. "I don't think he wants all of you guys to call him right now about this. Please don't."
When the time is right, however, Corker believes Manning, who he calls a good friend, would be great at the job.
"He masters things, as a quarterback he knew more about the other team than they knew about themselves. That's how he'd be in this position," he said.
So who is interested in the job?
Corker said he'd talked to Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, who are both "looking at running."
Blackburn, a Brentwood Republican, has served in Congress since 2002, and has said she will make a decision this week on whether to seek the Senate seat. Haslam's two terms as governor will end next year. The former Knoxville mayor has high approval ratings in the state, and he could have an easy transition to the Senate seat. He and Corker have been friends a long time, and Corker said Haslam has known for some time that he would likely not seek a third term.
For now, only Republican Andy Ogles, a conservative activist, and Democrat James Mackler, a Nashville attorney, have said they are running for the Senate seat.
While he didn't know at the time if a former NFL superstar would be running for his seat, Corker said one thing was for sure - Manning would be upset with him for even talking about it.
"I got a text from him asking me not to fan the flames," he laughed.