Eli Manning relaxes on Sundays for the first time in 17 years. He watches his former teammates and friends. He tracks how his first fantasy football team is doing.
It hasn’t taken long for the 39-year-old, two-time Super Bowl MVP to move on. It hasn’t taken much time for some of his fans, either.
Participating in a Q&A session with fans before Sunday’s game between the Giants and Bears, Manning was asked by a 13-year-old girl if he could do her a favor: Help her get tickets to watch Manning’s nephew, Arch, a highly acclaimed high school quarterback in New Orleans.
“I’m glad I’ve already been forgotten about,” Manning said during a Frank’s Red Hot digital tailgate event. “Who are you? Where’s the next Manning?”
Nine months removed from his final NFL game, Manning watched his replacement, Daniel Jones, put forth another uneven performance — with two turnovers — in the Giants’ 17-13 loss in Chicago.
Manning believes the Giants’ new offensive system has only stalled thus far because of the cancellations of offseason workouts, and believes Jones will still have a breakout season. Manning said he’s offered to help the second-year quarterback however possible.
“I talked to Daniel throughout the offseason a little bit,” Manning said. “I talked to him, but I don’t have any advice for Daniel. He doesn’t need advice from me. I just said, ‘Hey, I can be a resource for you if you want, if you have questions about anything, if you need help with anything. I don’t know [new offensive coordinator Jason] Garrett’s offense, so I can’t help you with the X’s and O’s of things.’ … It’s just gonna take a little time for them to start jelling just because they’re a little bit behind the curve than teams that have some of the same players and coaches from the last few years.
“I think Daniel’s worked extremely hard. He’s always done that and had a great work ethic and wants to be a leader and wants to take over that team and I think he’s doing all those things the right way. I think he’ll have a big season.”
Though it feels strange for Manning to watch his teammates take the field without him, he’s never enjoyed the day after games more.
“The best part about it was I woke up Tuesday morning, I wasn’t sore, I didn’t feel bad, it was not gonna affect the rest of my week,” Manning said. “I said, ‘I could do whatever I want today.’ I don’t have to go into a meeting room and get criticized, ‘Why did you throw this pass? Why didn’t you change this protection?’ You don’t get teammates, ‘Why did you hold the ball so long? Why didn’t you throw it away?’ I didn’t have all this. So that’s maybe the best part of the whole experience.”
As for the future, Manning still doesn’t envision he’ll ever return to an NFL sideline.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get into coaching at the highest level, but you never know,” Manning said.
New York Post
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