Eli Manning’s full remarks from his retirement press conference on Friday, January 24th, 2020
Eli Manning: Good morning and thanks for coming. This sport has very few real farewells, but as the clock ran down on our win against the Dolphins this season, I ran to my favorite place in the stadium, the tunnel. I waved to our loyal fans and then Abby, my kids, ran out to meet me. That was my farewell and a moment I’ll cherish forever. There won’t be any more tunnel moments for me, and I’ll truly miss them.
I’ll miss standing in the shadows, staring out into the field before a game surrounded by my teammates and knowing all the hard work we’ve put in. I’ll miss hearing the first roar of the crowd, triggering the knowledge that we had been given one more opportunity to go win a football game.
It’s impossible to explain the satisfaction, actually the joy, I’ve experienced being a Giant. From the very first moment, I did it my way. I couldn’t be someone other than who I am. Undoubtedly, I would have made the fans, the media, even the front office more comfortable if I was a more ‘rah-rah guy’, but that’s not me.
Ultimately, I truly believed my teammates and the fans learned to appreciate that. They knew what they got was pure, unadulterated Eli. I don’t have any regrets and I won’t look in the rear-view mirror.
Would we have liked to have won more games or championships? Of course we would have. There were tough times that I learned and grew from, but I always knew the level of effort and sacrifice my teammates and coaches made. We did all we could do every week.
I choose to leave this game with only positive memories. Why harp on the not-so-proud moments? Where is the value in that? If there are going to be endless echoes, choose the good ones. For now, I’ll focus on the touchdowns, the wins, celebrations with teammates, family and friends and sharing a cold beer in the back of a bus after a big game.
I’ll remember the OTAs and training camps. I’ll remember the special people that make this organization what it is. During the past 16 years, many of the faces have not changed, from the film people, the equipment managers, the community relations department, and those in the cafeteria and the training room. Each of them have become like family to me. I’ve watched as they have gotten married and I’ve seen their kids grow.
I’ll miss the people and I’ll miss the life experiences that we’ve shared. I’ll remember conversations with coaches, game planning and meeting rooms. Those are unique memories I treasure and ones I’ll relive with teammates for decades from now.
When you win championships, you have a special, unbreakable bond with teammates. When you see them, you give them a hug and hold it just a little bit longer because of that unique connection with those special people. Many became friends that will last a lifetime.
I was excited to come to New York. When I make a decision, I’m determined to make it work. Abby and I became active members in our community, whether it’s parent volunteers for kids’ sports teams or supporters of local charities, like Tackle Kids Cancer, March of Dimes and Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
I don’t have a single regret and ultimately, I think that it worked out for you and for me. We supported our community in the past, today, and since we’re going to be sticking around here, we’ll continue to support this community in the future.
It’s rare to have the privilege of playing an entire career with one organization. I’m proud to be one of the few, but even more so, that it was as a Giant. There are a few people that I want to thank.
Of course, the Mara and the Tisch family. You can be confident that no one has loved and appreciated wearing the Giants uniform more than I have and that will never change.
To Ernie Accorsi, 16 years ago, Ernie made the trade that made me a Giant for life. Thank you so much.
To Coach Tom Coughlin, thanks for teaching me the work ethic, the discipline and the value of team-above-all-else mentality.
To Coach Kevin Gilbride, thanks for always having my back and trusting me and supporting me through my entire career.
And of course, to all my teammates. If I named them all, it would take forever and no one would recognize me if I did.
What I will say is that the best thing about playing all these years, is the number of teammates that I can call real friends, and of all those friends, I’m lucky enough to have a few that have become as close as brothers.
And of course, my family. I don’t think I need to make public comments for my family to know how I think about them, but Abby, and to Ava and Lucy and Caroline and Charlie, you are my rock.
And to the Giants fans, you are definitely unique, but I love you for that. I’m walking away today feeling like a New Yorker. Well, at least a Northeasterner and that says a lot about a guy from New Orleans who went to Ole Miss.
Since I’ve only been here, I’m biased when I say that the New York Giants are the greatest organization in the NFL and how they treat players, coaches and personnel. The team’s driving commitment: to win football games. It’s a rarity, but here, “Team” always comes first.
It’s been an honor to be a part of this family and I hope that I’ve represented the organization in the way that you wanted me to from my first day to my last.
For most of my life, people have called me Easy. Believe me, this is nothing easy about today.
Wellington Mara always said, “Once a Giant, Always a Giant.” For me, it’s ‘Only a Giant.’
Thank you so much.