Peyton Manning, Trump Hit The Golf Course: Is Former NFL Star Trump’s New Football BFF?

Peyton Manning and Donald Trump played a few rounds of golf Sunday afternoon, putting the former Denver Broncos quarterback in the position of being Trump’s new go-to football guy now that Tom Brady doesn’t want the job.

As the Washington Post reports, Manning and Trump, along with Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), were spotted on the White House lawn sporting golf clubs. Reuters later confirmed that the group had been golfing at a Trump-owned golf club in suburban D.C.: the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. It’s not known, as of this writing, who won.

It was Trump’s 23rd golf outing since being inaugurated.

Sunday night, Trump and Manning attended a reception at Ford’s Theater (where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated). There, Manning and businessman Ronald Perelman were scheduled to receive the Lincoln Medal, which is awarded to “individuals who, through their body of work, accomplishments or personal attributes, exemplify the lasting legacy and character embodied by President Lincoln.”

As TMZ notes, Trump has been in the market for a new football BFF ever since he was apparently snubbed by another legendary quarterback, Tom Brady.

Unlike their colleagues in the TV, movie, and music industries, professional athletes — at least, in the U.S. — generally tend to keep their politics to themselves while their careers are still active. There are exceptions, of course: Colin Kaepernick comes to mind.

And then there’s Tom Brady.

Brady has been an outspoken (compared to other pro athletes, anyway) Republican in the later part of his career, and he was even spotted with a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap in his locker. However, when pressed to confirm whether he supported Trump or associated with him at all, Brady has elusive. Then, when speaking to a Lawrence, Massachusetts, radio station, Brady confirmed that he has Trump in his Rolodex, but the two aren’t besties.

“I have called him, yes, in the past. Sometimes he calls me. Sometimes I call… I have a lot of friends. I call a lot of people.”

If that wasn’t a big enough of a snub, Brady doubled down on his reluctance to be associated with Trump. As SB Nation writer Ryan Van Bibber notes, after Brady’s team, the New England Patriots, won the Super Bowl, Brady chose to sit out the traditional post-win visit to the White House.

That was enough to put an end to the Trump-Brady friendship. However, Trump likes to surround himself with people who validate him, says Van Bibber, and the football world has another up-and-coming conservative in the mix: Peyton Manning.

Since retiring from the game, Manning has been active in conservative politics, supporting the Jeb Bush campaign and donating money to other Republican candidates. He also spoke at a conservative event in which Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were present.

Trump, for his part, has invoked Manning in the past, dropping his name at a speech to the CIA.

“I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl and they said it was equal. got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time…. I know when I do good speeches. I know when I do bad speeches. That speech was a total home run. They loved it.”

Van Bibber believes that Manning may be gearing up for a post-football career in politics; he has plenty of money and instant name-recognition. He even fought off rumors that he was considering running for office in his home state of Tennessee.

[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]