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Peyton wants to 'stay connected' to the NFL

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Peyton Manning wants to "stay connected'' to the NFL in any way he can these days, and although working in the Monday Night Football booth or in a team's front office is not in the cards right now, Manning said Thursday he will always listen to opportunities that come his way.

Manning, who retired after the Denver Broncos' Super Bowl season in 2015, was at the team's practice Thursday. And this offseason he has seen his name linked by a variety of media outlets to the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans and, this past week, the New York Jets.

"I have spoken with [Jets coach] Adam [Gase], of course, since he's been there, but I did not speak with him about that nor was I contacted by anyone," Manning said of the current Jets' opening for a general manager.

Asked if he planned to work in the league in the future, Manning referenced his current work on "Peyton's Places,'' an ESPN+ show around the NFL's 100th season and said:

"I can't speak too far into the future. I guess in a way I am [working in the league]. I'm doing this little thing for the NFL for the 100th year, I went from Columbus yesterday to Ada, Ohio, for Wilson, where they make the footballs. ... I went and kind of learned how to make a football, looking for a job. And I failed miserably. And I'm going to Chicago next week. ... I have enjoyed that. ... I have enjoyed staying connected with it in this way.

"I still stay connected, I just can't ... look into a glass and say what I'm going to be wanting to do next year or five years from now," Manning added. "I know I do want to stay close to it, stay connected to it."

Manning met with ESPN/ABC officials earlier this year about being an analyst for Monday Night Football. Manning said Thursday that with 8-year-old twins Marshall and Mosley, time with family is his priority.

"I talked to the Monday Night Football folks, I did, and enjoyed talking to them and had a great conversation. It just wasn't the right time for me this year and maybe it will never be, but I enjoy talking and listening," Manning said. "I'm pretty good, even going back to when I was recruited in high school, about listening and then telling you pretty quickly, right away, 'Hey, I'm out,' or 'Actually I'm in.' I'm not into leading anybody on.

"I think all you can do is listen because who knows what it might lead to down the road. I've been busy and stimulated and [I've] also protected a lot of free time. I'll be at the Yankees and the Smashers 8-year-old baseball and softball games this Saturday."

Manning doesn't consider this stage of his life to be retirement.

"I don't use the R-word. I just use kind of my second chapter, if you will," he said. "I don't have that one-word job description like coaching or broadcasting. I just kind of stay busy doing lots of things, but it's important for me to be able to go to those games on Saturday, flag football on Sunday. Marshall's playing for the Rams; they're playing on Sunday.''