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John Mara doesn’t close the door on an Eli Manning return

Mara says the Giants would welcome Manning back if that is what he wants

New York Giants Introduce New Head Coach Joe Judge Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

In what has been a week of change for the New York Giants organization, owner John Mara told WFAN that he would be OK if one thing stayed the same.

Eli Manning.

“I haven’t closed any doors on that,” Mara said on Friday.

Some of the changes for the Giants so far this offseason have been surprising and some have been expected. The firing of Pat Shurmur caught no one off guard, but the non-firing of general manager Dave Gettleman confused some. Then, many were under the impression former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule would be the next Giants head coach, but New York had its sights set on someone else. Joe Judge had many people googling his name upon first announcement. But after Thursday’s introductory press conference, there seems to be no question the Giants made, at the very least, an intriguing and exciting decision by hiring the former Patriots wide receiver and special teams coach.

But it is no surprise to anyone that Manning does not want to be a backup quarterback. He expressed that fact multiple times over the course of the 2019 season. Mara said that Manning has all the time he needs to make a decision.

“Eli came to see me a few days ago,” Mara said. “We had a nice long talk, but I don’t think he’s fully decided yet what he wants to do. I told him to take his time, think about it some more and then come back and see me again.”

While Judge preached creating a team that represents the blue-collar people of surrounding communities, of building a franchise that earns the respect of fans, Manning has always done that for New York. He’s one of the reasons fans kept showing up in the final weeks of the season when winning no longer even mattered.

“Obviously, he’s been the best representative of this franchise maybe that we’ve ever had.” Mara said. Not only what he’s done on the field, the way he conducts himself off the field - the professionalism that he shows. You can’t ask for a better representative than Eli Manning.”

There is no doubt now that Mara, and New York, would welcome Manning back with open arms. But for now, we wait.

“We’ll talk whenever he’s ready to sit down and talk again,” Mara said.