The New York Giants have endured heavy criticism since they announced they are benching franchise cornerstone Eli Manning on Sunday and ending his streak of 210 consecutive starts.
Manning, who has accepted his demotion gracefully, is signed with the team until 2019 and currently has a no-trade clause in his contract.
Still, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which Manning will return to the Giants next season as the team’s starting quarterback.
He turned down the opportunity to make a few token starts to keep his consecutive start streak alive and has already begun tutoring his possible successor, rookie quarterback Davis Webb.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 29, 2017
Manning’s father, Archie, recently opened up to the New York Daily News about what the future might hold for the two-time Super Bowl MVP.
“I don’t think Eli ever envisioned, until now, playing for somebody else,” Archie said. “That’s the love he has for the Giants. It is kind of unique and stronger than most. It’s not just the game he loves to play. He loves to play for the Giants.”
A personal note on Eli Manning & how seriously he took his job… pic.twitter.com/LU0xf9eX6Y
— Ian O’Connor (@Ian_OConnor) November 29, 2017
Whether Manning will play another down in the NFL remains to be seen.
There has been some speculation that he could go to Jacksonville to reunite with former head coach Tom Coughlin, who has moved on to become the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations. Coughlin voiced his displeasure with the way that the Giants’ handled the situation, saying that he was “very upset” when he found out that his former Super Bowl quarterback was benched.
Eli Manning to the #Jaguars for 2018. Calling it now.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) November 28, 2017
While Archie did acknowledge that Eli was “extremely close” with Coughlin, the eldest Manning doesn’t believe there is any sense in guessing what might take place in the future.
When asked specifically about the possibility of his son joining the Jaguars, Archie told the New York Post, “I just don’t know. We certainly hadn’t talked about beyond this year. No one knows what’s gonna happen after the next five games. You just don’t know. Eli can only just look at all that when the time comes.”
Giants co-owner John Mara wasn’t willing to speculate about Manning’s future either. In an interview Wednesday, Mara said he believed Manning could still be an effective NFL quarterback, saying, “I think he can still win in the NFL, yes. And I hope it’s here, but that’ll be a discussion for the offseason.”
The Manning family has come together through the entire ordeal. Peyton and older brother Cooper both called their baby brother to offer their support.
If Manning doesn’t want to return to the playing field, he will likely have plenty of offers elsewhere. CBS Chairman Les Moonves said this week, “Eli will have a future a lot of places, wherever he wants. He’s a great guy. We’d take him in a second.”
Change seems to be on the horizon in New York, but Manning’s legacy will be forever entrenched in the minds of Giants’ fans. Peyton and Archie were both by Eli’s side when he demanded to be traded to New York during the 2004 NFL draft. Two Super Bowl rings later, he has cemented his place in Giants’ history en route to becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.
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