EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants outgoing quarterback Eli Manning said Monday he has a lot of soul searching to do regarding his future.
Manning, who turns 39 on Friday, said multiple options are on the table regarding his future, but that returning to the Giants—the only team he’s ever played for—as a backup to Daniel Jones is probably not going to be one of them.
“I doubt it,” Manning said as he stood in front of his locker, addressing reporters for what’s likely the final time as a member of the team. “Backing up is not real fun.”
In an ideal scenario, Manning calls it a career after his storybook sendoff three weeks ago against the Dolphins, where he managed to get his career won-loss record back to .500 (117-117).
Once he does, Manning, who holds nearly every franchise passing record, is sure to be an instant inductee in the Giants Ring of Honor and can begin the five-year countdown to a possible Hall of Fame selection.
But Manning has said before that he still thinks he can compete in today’s game, even though the game is a lot different than it was when he first came into the league.
Were another team to come calling with interest in having Manning be their starter, it sounded like he would at least listen to offers. However, it’s interesting that throughout his final contract with the Giants, Manning was never really willing to waive his no-trade clause in his contract that would have enabled him to seek a fresh start elsewhere.
The most likely decision is that Manning will retire, though he said he plans to sit down with his family to discuss his options.
“The first decision is whether I want to continue to play or not, and then I’ll go from there,” he said. “That [putting on another uniform] will come into consideration. That’s what I’ll be thinking about these next couple of days.”
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Manning certainly wouldn’t be the first NFL legend to finish his career with another franchise. Both his dad Archie, who made stops with the Oilers and Vikings after a lengthy career with the Saints, and his older brother Peyton, who finished up his career with Denver after spending his prime with the Colts, have done so.
Watch! Eli Manning leaves the MetLife Stadium field as a member of the Giants franchise for likely the final time.
Manning’s durability has been legendary as he’s never missed a game due to injury. And while he might like to still play, he’ll take the time to let everything sink in and settle down before arriving at a decision.
“It’s tough to know how you are going to feel on this day, and it takes a little bit of time for it to truly sink in,” Manning said, noting that he’ll make his decision sooner than later.
“I’m going to think about it and talk to my family and figure out what’s best for me and us,” he said. “Sit on it and hopefully have that answer on what I want to do and what my next steps are.”
Might coaching be in his future?
Probably not at the NFL level, though Manning did reveal he’s had a side coaching gig going on all along.
"I am coaching my third-grade basketball team with my daughter," he said. "I’m the assistant but I take it pretty seriously and I’m enjoying that. I’ll consider some coaching jobs."
Youth basketball, he meant, not in the NFL. Those days appear to be over.