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Eli Manning hasn’t closed the door on getting involved on the football side of an NFL team one day.
“I don’t think I’ve made all those decisions,” Manning, 40, said Sunday at MetLife Stadium, attending his first Giants game as an employee and fan since his retirement in January 2019.
The two-time Super Bowl MVP said if he did consider a personnel role, he’d probably want to find out first if he enjoys film study as much as he loves playing and talking football.
“I haven’t thought about that,” Manning said when asked if he had aspirations of being a GM. “I think that’s something where you have to figure out if you enjoy, ya know, analyzing college offensive linemen. Can I sit there and watch 50 offensive linemen and, like, really enjoy this? Can I watch all these receivers and say hey this guy would be a great fourth round receiver or watch defense and defensive tackles.
“There’s more to it than, like, ‘hey I can tell this is a Cover-2 or this is a zone blitz,’ in analyzing personnel,” Manning added with a smile. “So I think you’d have to look into it and try it a little bit and see if that’s something you’re good at or that you’re interested in doing. So I haven’t gotten that far yet.”
Manning did get a bit emotional talking about his upcoming jersey retirement in Week 3 when the Atlanta Falcons visit on Sept. 26.
“There’s already emotions just kinda coming back into the stadium for the first time [today] and when there’s a kickoff and you’re not on the sideline or you’re not running out there,” Manning said. “I think it’ll be emotional that day, kind of one last true farewell and a thank you to the fans and the organization and all my teammates. I just kind of choose to remember the good times in this stadium and in my career and this would be another one I can add those memories.”
But the 16-year pro said he’ll never go far from the football field again. He learned that during his year off from the game.
That’s why he jumped back in to work with the Giants in business development, marketing, and community and corporate relations, and content development.
That’s why he’s calling at least two Monday Night Football games with his brother Peyton on an alternate ESPN broadcast.
“My plan was to take a year off when I retired, and I did that,” Manning said. “I took a year and change off. I enjoyed that time and really got to reflect and try to find out if there are other interests, are there things I want to get involved in and pursue? I kind of learned that there’s not a whole lot of other things I’m interested in besides football.
“It’s what I know, it’s what I like, it’s what I can talk about, it’s what I like to study and keep up with,” he said with a smile. “So when I had the opportunity to stay involved with the Giants and get to call some games with my brother Peyton on Monday night, you have to jump on those opportunities because it’s where you’re comfortable, it’s where you feel right at home.”
Manning was on hand for an Opening Day ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hackensack Meridian Health Legacy Club to celebrate an expanded partnership. The quarterback proudly recounted how the Tackle Kids Cancer initiative has raised $12 million for pediatric cancer with his help.
He said he didn’t let his mind wander to his own Hall of Fame fate while sitting in Canton, Ohio, listening to Peyton’s induction and speech this summer.
“No I really don’t,” he said.
And he said he hasn’t heard Peyton say he wants to be NFL commissioner one day, though Peyton’s Hall of Fame speech certainly sounded like he was stumping.
“”I don’t know. I’ve never heard him talk about it,” Manning said with a chuckle. “I don’t know if that’s something he’d want to do. But I’m sure if he were, he’d be good at it.”
The most relatable sign of Manning’s new reality, though, happened when one of his daughters tapped him on the arm mid-interview.
Manning took his credit card out of his pocket.
“You want that?” he said. Then his daughter ran off.
“Alright,” he said with a smile. “She’s hungry.”
Just another dad cheering on the Giants on a gameday. For now, anyway.