Giants’ head coach Ben McAdoo made a stunning announcement on Tuesday, saying the team is benching future Hall of Fame quarterback Eli Manning, ending his streak of 210 consecutive starts behind center.
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) November 28, 2017
But just hours after the Giants ended his historic tenure as the team’s starting quarterback, Manning was back to business as usual, tutoring rookie quarterback David Webb.
Former Giants’ center and Super Bowl champion David Diehl witnessed Manning mentoring his eventual replacement.
@BobPapa_NFL & I just took a break from our radio show to grab a coffee to see only 2 @Giants players in the cafeteria. It was Eli Manning sitting next to Davis Webb mentoring him #Respect #Character #Selfless
— David Diehl (@davediehl66) November 29, 2017
Webb, who was drafted in the third round from the University of California, is expected to be the heir apparent behind center. However, the Giants’ organization failed to get the rookie ready for game action this season.
Webb took a very limited number of snaps running the team’s offense during training camp and the preseason. He’s since been relegated to running the scout team and has been inactive for every regular season game so far this year.
Geno Smith will be the team’s starting quarterback Sunday when the Giants play the Oakland Raiders.
Webb praised Manning for the way he handled the situation. “Today was pretty big,” Webb said. “The way [Manning] handled himself, the way he handled himself in front of teammates, myself and Geno included, he was first class.”
Webb also called Manning the “best teammate I’ve ever had in my life” as part of his praise for the two-time Super Bowl champion.
Former teammates, coaches and several members of the NFL community expressed their displeasure with how the Giants chose to end Manning’s legacy in a Giants’ uniform.
Eli deserves much better than that. Much better. Class person, class player. That’s absurd
— Osi Umenyiora (@OsiUmenyiora) November 28, 2017
Wow so Eli Manning get benched. Is it me or is #BenMcAdoo running out of ppl to throw under the 🚌 Bus. He’s like a student who didn’t study for a test but keeps saying the teacher just doesn’t like me. No Son you failed yourself. Str8 donkey #facts
— Steve Smith Sr (@89SteveSmith) November 28, 2017
I’m absolutely speechless. I’ve watched every game & have sat through this rough @Giants season & this what you do to a man who has lead this team for 210 straight games
— David Diehl (@davediehl66) November 28, 2017
Webb said he is looking forward to the opportunity to show what he can do on the football field once the Giants decide he’s ready.
“It doesn’t affect my preparation,” Webb said Tuesday. “I get up here pretty early and I stay here pretty dang late and I always prepare like if my opportunity came tomorrow, I’d be ready and I approached it that way since the day I got here.”
Watching Eli Manning today should be all anyone ever needs to know about the type of person and leader he is. All class all the way.
— John Schmeelk (@Schmeelk) November 28, 2017
While the Giants failed to show any class in replacing their franchise cornerstone, Manning displayed the type of character that has made him one of the NFL’s most respected players.
Manning, who appeared to be fighting back tears when speaking to the media, accepted his demotion gracefully. He was given the opportunity to start and continue his streak, but declined the chance to start simply for the sake of keeping the streak alive.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” Manning said, per the team website. “My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them. Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak. Like I always have, I will be ready to play if and when I am needed. I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can.”
It is unclear if the benching was McAdoo’s way of saving face or his final insult as head coach of the Giants.
Manning is still under contract through 2019, but it is a distinct possibility he has played his last game in a Giants’ uniform.
No matter what happens next, Giants’ fans will immortalize Manning for his two iconic Super Bowl wins over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
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