As the New York Giants’ tortured, losing 2019 season has meandered on you had to wonder — would we ever see Eli Manning take another snap for the Giants, or in the NFL?
How would the Giants honor the benched two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback as his time with the franchise almost certainly runs out after 16 seasons. A video tribute? Some type of cameo or ceremonial start in the Dec. 29 season finale? Nothing seemed obvious, or quite right.
Well, fate, in the form of a Daniel Jones high-ankle sprain, has given us one more chance to watch Manning play for the Giants. With Jones in a walking boot, coach Pat Shurmur all but announced Manning as the starter Monday against the Philadelphia Eagles, saying that was “very likely” going to be the case.
So, how does everyone feel about Manning — at least temporarily — being back behind center for the Giants?
Eli Manning: “I’m trying to go out there, play hard, compete, and get a win for the team” pic.twitter.com/SCVXyRi6am— New York Giants (@Giants) December 4, 2019
“Business as usual” for Manning
Always known for his stoic, even-keeled demeanor, Manning kept it cool on Wednesday.
“We’ll see what happens Monday, but business as usual,” he said when asked about his emotions. “In the sense of you get the game plan, start prepping for Philly. (We’re) going against a good defense we ‘ve faced a number of years, (we) know them well. Just have to get back in the mix with the offensive line and receivers, make sure timing is where it needs to be.”
Manning admitted he has missed playing and that the last 10 games have been “a little different” for him.
“I mean it is difficult (not playing),” he said. “Especially when you’ve been the starter for so long and you’re not really accustomed to preparing and preparing and not putting it to use, in that sense. I think just having a lot of experience and knowing the offense and knowing I can pop in there and be ready to go at any time.”
There has been much speculation about what Manning will do once this season ends. The 38-year-old said, in his typical style, that he would “just take it one game at a time.”
“You never want to try to make decisions about your future while you’re still living in the present and don’t know the circumstances of what could happen,” Manning said. “Just have to go out there and try to get a win for the Giants if I’m asked to do that. I’ll analyze everything else after the season.”
Daniel Jones talks ankle injury and respect for Eli Manning pic.twitter.com/NJulvifVTQ— New York Giants (@Giants) December 4, 2019
Daniel Jones: “Obviously I want to be out there”
The rookie quarterback said he “knew something was wrong” with his ankle.
“It’s pretty disappointing, especially after thinking I was going to be able to play,” Jones said. “Meanwhile, I understand it, I guess, and hopefully it’ll heal up pretty quick.”
Manning, the longest-tenured player in franchise history with 234 games played, never missed a start due to injury. Ten games into his career, it looks like Jones will.
“I obviously have a ton of respect for him for a lot of different reasons, but yeah, that’s (durability) one of them,” Jones said.
Coach Shurmur on Eli Manning: "He’s going to be ready to play" pic.twitter.com/dlrvbXHHYp— New York Giants (@Giants) December 4, 2019
Pat Shurmur: Eli “ready to play”
What does the coach expect from Manning on Monday?
“Eli looks good. He’s been ready to play all year. If in fact he does play this week, he will be ready to go,” Shurmur said. “I expect him to go out and have a winning performance. That’s what I expect.
“We’re not going to worry. We’re going to go play, be aggressive about it, give him the things that he can do well and take it from there.”
Shurmur said that he doesn’t expect Jones to be shut down for the season, and added he will reclaim the starting job when he is healthy.
Here’s wide receiver Sterling Shepard:
Q: Did you expect to catch another pass from Eli Manning— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) December 4, 2019
A: To be honest, no I didn't pic.twitter.com/KTMdzvBEYd
One former teammate is fired up to see Manning take the field again.