Few quarterbacks leave the NFL on their own terms and of their own volition, but what’s happened to Eli Manning over the last week has been strange even by the NFL’s traditionally cruel standards. Stranded on a miserable team, Manning found out earlier this week that he’d lose his starting job—and his prized 210-game starting streak—not to a promising rookie, but to Geno Smith.
The decision stung Manning on multiple levels—personal, professional, probably spiritually—but did it hurt badly enough for Eli to consider retirement? His father Archie, himself a quarterback of some renown, hints that Eli might just hang it up rather than suit up for, say, the Jacksonville Jaguars or Denver Broncos next year.
“There’s no sense speculating,” Archie told the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, but then he proceeded to speculate anyway. “If he’s still there, we don’t know what their future plans are, if other people are there. And you have no idea what other teams will think of a 37-year-old quarterback. You don’t have any idea. Eli might say, ‘I’ve had enough. I’m feeling good. I’ve got a beautiful wife, three little girls, I’m healthy. And that’s it.'”
Archie would be in a better position than most to gauge Eli’s heart; Archie’s years of training prepped Eli and his older brother—we forget his name right now—for legendary careers under center. To hear Archie tell it, the Giants didn’t appreciate quite what they had in Eli.
“Eli’s passion for the Giants goes deeper than most, and I’ve mentioned it through the years,” Archie said. “Eli loves playing for the New York Giants. He just does. He just loves it, I think more than most. So therefore, it broke his heart.”
It’s tough to see how the Giants could have botched this situation any worse than they already have, but there’s still time. Somehow, we have faith they’ll make it even worse.
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