It was important for me to bow out as a Giant - Manning 'at peace' with retirement decision

Omnisport
Two-time winning Super Bowl quarterback Eli Manning announced his decision to retire from the NFL and has said he has no regrets.
Two-time winning Super Bowl quarterback Eli Manning announced his decision to retire from the NFL and has said he has no regrets.

Eli Manning says he is "at peace" with his decision to retire as he had no plans to represent anyone other than the New York Giants.

The Giants confirmed on Wednesday that the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback would retire from the NFL, ending a 16-year spell with the team.

Manning joined the Giants in a controversial draft-day trade after being selected by the San Diego Chargers in 2004 and led them to Super Bowl success in 2007 and 2011, both victories coming against the New England Patriots.

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Plans are in place to retire Manning's number 10 jersey and the 39-year-old has not ruled out returning to the MetLife Stadium in a coaching capacity, but first he wants time to reflect on his career.

"I'll take some time just to figure out how I want to spend these next years first," he said at Friday's retirement press conference.

"This sport has very few real farewells. It's impossible to explain the satisfaction, and actually the joy, I've experienced being a Giant.

"From the very first moment, I did it my way. I couldn't be someone other than who I am. 

"Undoubtedly I would've made the fans, the media and even the front office more comfortable if I was a more rah-rah guy. 

"But that's not me. Ultimately I choose to believe that my team-mates and the fans learned to appreciate that. They knew what they got was pure unadulterated Eli."

Manning split opinion throughout his career and bows out with 57,023 passing yards, 366 touchdowns and 244 interceptions.

Asked why now was the right time to announce his retirement, he added: "It was important for me to retire as a Giant. It was the right decision. 

"I know it is and I'm at peace with it. I think that's what has made this day a little bit easier.

"Wellington Mara used to say, 'Once a Giant, always a Giant.' For me, it's only a giant."

Giants co-owner John Mara also spoke at Friday's ceremony and confirmed Manning will be inducted into their Ring of Honor next season.

"This is certainly a day of very mixed emotions for us," he said. "It's sad in one sense because we're seeing the end of an incredible playing career and saying goodbye to someone who has been everything you could ask a player to be both on and off the field for the last 16 years. 

"Yet we're also very happy to that we get to be here to celebrate that incredible career and we're also able to witness one of the greatest players in franchise history be able to leave the game on his own terms, having played his whole career with the Giants, something that doesn't always happen in this business.

"If anybody deserved that opportunity it's Eli Manning. The last 16 years Eli has meant so much to all of us here with the giants and our fans. 

"We all know about the two Super Bowl MVPs and all of the great performances on the field, but just as important was the way he conducted himself on and off the field as the consummate professional, always with dignity always with class."

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