Re. becoming the New York Giants backup quarterback
Q: How are you handling the change?
A: There’s no other option but just to handle it and do my job, support my teammates, support the Giants, and do what I can do to try and go help win some football games. Right now, that’s getting Daniel (Jones) prepared and helping him and supporting him.
Q: Do you wish you had a longer opportunity this year to show what you have?
A: You can wish all you want, that’s not the way it played out. In some ways, I signed up for this knowing when you draft a young quarterback this can happen. I’ve got to live with it and make the best of it.
Q: What was your initial reaction when Coach Shurmur told you yesterday?
A: I knew there was a possibility and I just said I’ll handle it, I’ll support Daniel, I’ll be a good teammate and do what I’m told.
Q: Just two games in, was there any element of surprise with the decision?
A: When you’re a football player, you do what you’re told and this is what I’ve been told and I’ll handle it.
Q: Do you anticipate being here for the whole season, doing what you’re told for the next 14-15 weeks?
A: Yeah, I mean I haven’t thought much past this week. So, just kind of taking it day by day and figuring that out.
Q: Do you think this was handled with respect?
A: Yeah, I think everybody that I talked to—it was handled as good as you can handle it.
Q: What have been your follow-up conversations—have you talked to John Mara or anyone else?
A: Yes, I talked to John Mara yesterday, so everything’s been good and as positive as it can be.
Q: You knew this was a possibility, but did you ever think it would be a possibility after two games?
A: I didn’t know how everything was going to shake out this year. You just know when you draft a young quarterback, there’s a possibility that they’re going to play him if things don’t go well. We didn’t start fast, and that’s the situation we’re in now.
Q: Would you have wanted to come back here if you knew it was only going to be a two-game trial?
A: Yeah, I think you give it a shot, and I’ve worked hard, competed, did everything I thought I could, and it just didn’t work out.
Q: How important is it to you to be the mentor now to Daniel?
A: In some ways, that was kind of part of the deal. I’ve been trying to help him in every which way I could throughout the preseason and training camp and what not, so now I’ll still do that. I’ll support him, answer his questions if he has any, don’t get him thinking too much, but just give him information that I’ve learned over 15 years that I think he could use.
Q: The way it was presented to you, how much of the decision was performance related?
A: I don’t think we have to get into that. Whatever Coach (Shurmur) said, I’ll let him answer those questions.
Q: What is your message to the fans in terms of embracing a new starting quarterback?
A: Be great fans and support the team and whoever’s in there. Daniel will do a great job, he’s worked hard and he’ll handle the situation well.
Q: Was there any level of frustration knowing that you had so many injuries to your receiving corps and this was such a small sample?
A: There’s always disappointment, and not winning games, not winning those first two games, but you’ve just got to move on past that and handle the new situation and make the best of it.
Q: How do you describe your emotions yesterday when it went down?
A: Obviously disappointed, not happy about it, but you accept it and make the best of it.
Q: What kind of honor has it been to represent this organization as the starting quarterback for parts of 16 seasons?
A: Yeah, and I still want to represent them, and it’s not over, the season’s not over, we’ve got a lot of football. So, I’m just going to go do my part, do my job, get Daniel ready to play, be ready to play if called upon and support my teammates and get everybody ready.
Q: Is this the end of Eli Manning or just another phase?
A: Who knows? Again, I’m not dying and the season’s not over, so there’s a lot to be positive about, a lot to be grateful for, so I’ve just got to accept my new role and make the best of it.
Q: Do you definitely want to stay here? Any thought to waiving your no-trade clause?
A: Just taking this day by day, so just trying to figure out how to run a scout team—that was my number one objective of today, and I thought I did pretty well.
Q: How does this move impact the way you think about your future?
A: Again, I’ll get into futures later on. Right now, my future is I’m the second-string quarterback of the Giants and I’ve got to get myself ready to play and do whatever I’m called upon and feel I need to do to help out the rest of my teammates.
Q: Based on the conversations you had this offseason with Dave Gettleman, Pat Shurmur, and John Mara, do you feel that you were misled at all with the fact that you only got two weeks?
A: Again, I’m not going to go into all that. I think it’s just one of those deals where this is the situation and you deal with it, and that’s what I’m doing.
A: You handle them the same way you handle wins, losses, all of them. I think the only thing you can control is your attitude and the decisions you make and the mindset you have going into it. I think that’s all I can control.
Q: Was it weird running the scout team?
A: Yeah, it’s a little different, but you go about it and try to make good decisions and use good footwork and don’t get into bad habits.
Q: From what you see of Daniel, do you see a level of ability and grasping the system that you believe he will be ready?
A: Yeah, I think so. He’s done a good job, he’s worked extremely hard, he has talent, and he a has a good mindset, so I think he’ll handle everything well and I think he’ll be ready.
Q: Is it hard for you to prepare for this game, in this role?
A: I think you’ve got to handle it. A lot of guys have been backups, and you’ve got to prepare. You might not get every rep, but I think when you have a lot of reps under your belt and have played against a lot of types of systems and know the system well, I’ll be ready. I think when you’re helping someone else get prepared, it prepares you in that sense.
Q: You said you understood the situation and knew this was a possibility when you decided to come back here—did knowing that at all make it any easier?
A: I think just being somewhat prepared knowing that it could happen at some point, you’re still disappointed, but I think you’ve got to handle it and you’ve got to put the team first and make sure you’re not being a distraction or causing something to impact the team negatively.
Q: This year, there’s been a tremendous upheaval in the quarterback position with Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees—a lot of guys in, a lot of guys out. Have you monitored that, and is that something where if somebody wants you--
A: Monitored in the sense that I respect those guys and like them and I’m blessed that I’m still healthy, but nothing besides that.
Q: What were the last couple days like for you—starting with the end of the game, and then on Monday when Pat Shurmur kind of created some uncertainty? Did you walk into Tuesday maybe expecting that possibility?
A: I get hit in the head a lot, I can’t think that far back (laughter). Just take it day by day. I remember most of today, I know what’s in the game plan—that’s what my focus is on.
Q: Did what happened two years ago help in the sense that it was something similar?
A: Yeah, I think just knowing it’s a possibility and going into the season knowing if we didn’t get off to a good start, didn’t play well, that this would happen. So, you don’t want it, you don’t plan for it or expect it, but I think you’ve just got to be prepared for it, and not be surprised by it—it helps you handle it a little bit easier.