Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he feels for the newly benched Eli Manning, the only quarterback to beat him in a Super Bowl.
"I have nothing but respect for him and everything he's achieved and accomplished in his career," Brady said of Manning, who was benched in favor of Geno Smith as the Giants seek to evaluate their future options at quarterback, in an interview with Jim Gray on Westwood One.
"Obviously, being on the other side of two of those Super Bowl losses to an Eli Manning-led team, I just have so much respect for his dependability, for his consistency, for his toughness. You know that's really everything you want in an NFL player, and I think Eli has always provided that for the team. So I think it's a pretty unfortunate situation."
Manning quarterbacked the Giants to upset victories over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and XLVI, and Manning was named MVP in both games.
Brady was asked how players feel when they are expected to be loyal to a franchise after seeing situations like Manning's play out.
"I think there's always these types of situations. As a fan growing up, I mean, to see Joe Montana playing in another uniform, and again, to see Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott [play for another team], you know guys that I really looked up to and admired, there's not many happy endings in sports, and you know that's just the way it is.
"You always wish for everything to go like a fairy tale, but it doesn't. Michael Jordan played for the Washington Wizards. I mean, who would have ever believed that? And that's just pro sports."
According to the Giants' press release, the team gave Manning the option to start the first half of the team's remaining games to preserve his consecutive game's streak of 210, which is the second-longest in NFL history behind Brett Favre's 297. But Manning declined that offer, and Smith will start Sunday in Oakland.
Brady isn't the only Pro Bowl quarterback to comment on Manning's benching. Earlier in the week, Chargers starter Philip Rivers was less diplomatic in his assessment of New York's handling of the situation.
"I honestly thought it was pathetic," Rivers told reporters Wednesday. "I feel like he's earned the opportunity to finish it off, finish off these last five weeks."