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Eli Manning on Pat Shurmur, his future, and Daniel Jones

Eli Manning continues to show class, leadership, and humor, even as his career winds down

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants season officially ended Sunday with their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. And as is the annual custom for the teams that don’t make the playoffs, Monday saw the Giants’ players emptying out their lockers as they leave the facilities for the off-season.

Some, perhaps even many, will be back for the 2020 season, but for some, this will the last time they step into the locker room as Giants. One of those players is, in all likelihood, Eli Manning.

Unsurprisingly, Manning spoke to the media one last time as the Giants’ quarterback during the availability period.

On Pat Shurmur’s firing

Monday was a busy day in the Giants’ facilities, as players packed up their lockers and said their goodbyes. But the news overshadowing it all was the firing of Pat Shurmur. Of course, the first thing asked of Manning at his locker was his feelings toward Shurmur.

Predictably, Eli said all the right things and even took responsibility for Shurmur’s fate.

“Coach Shurmur and I had a great relationship,” Eli said. “I think he is a great coach, I think he is a wonderful man and (I’m) just disappointed. I think you always feel responsible when a coach gets fired. It’s obviously because as players we didn’t do our part. We didn’t play well enough, we didn’t win enough games. I feel for him and all the coaches. They worked hard and did a lot of hard work and a lot of good things. Obviously, just didn’t win enough games for them to stay on and move forward, so (I’m) disappointed.”

On the end of his Giants’ career

It wasn’t lost on anybody that as Eli packed up his locker with the season over it would be for the last time as a Giant. After a long and storied career as the Giants’ franchise quarterback, Eli has much more than

And in typical “Eli” fashion, he stayed positive and despite the last few years of his career, deflected from the “tough parts” and is choosing to concentrate on the good memories.

“Obviously, it’s kind of tough to know how you are going to feel on this day,” Eli said. “I think it takes a little time for it to truly sink in. I have so many fond memories and that’s the great thing about football. You can reflect on the good things and you can choose what to remember and what to forget. I’m going to choose to remember the wins and the fellowship here with my teammates and coaches. From the past season and from the 16 seasons prior. Too many great memories and laughs and wins and celebrations to worry about the tough parts.”

“It’s easy to say the championships and I think those are special memories,” he added, when asked what has stood out to him over the last decade and a half. “I think just the work every day, came in committed to getting better and finding ways to win games and to improve myself and improve my teammates. I’m proud of the friendships and being a good teammate to all the guys that came in here. Trying to help out anybody who needed help and work. I think the commitment was there and sometimes you got the result, sometimes you didn’t. I think I always gave myself, this team, and this organization everything I had.”

Eli hasn’t yet committed to retirement or trying to find another opportunity to start in the NFL, but he did say that he doesn’t want the decision to linger and will make up his mind pretty quickly.

And while some quarterbacks transition quickly to the sidelines and coach after retiring, we shouldn’t be looking for Eli as a coach any time soon.

Eli said, “I don’t think so. I felt like I was kind of a coach this year and I didn’t enjoy it that much. I guess I take it back, I am coaching my third-grade basketball team with my daughter. I’m the assistant but I take it pretty serious and I’m enjoying that. I’ll consider some coaching jobs.”

On Daniel Jones

While this is the (likely) end of Eli’s career as a Giant, it is the beginning of Jones’ tenure as the Giants’ starting quarterback. And as the man who held the job since 2004 and had performed at the highest level, Eli had some parting advice for the rookie.

Eli said, “I thought Daniel did a lot of really good things this year. It’s hard coming in as a rookie and playing. I think he had some unbelievable games. Obviously he had some tough games. I think in the future it will be good for him. I remember after my rookie year it was terrible and it wasn’t very good. Then the next year we go 11-5 and win the division. I think he will be so much more comfortable going into next season. I know there will be a new coach and maybe he will be learning new things. He’ll have that presence and have that experience and he will be better for it.”