New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is facing plenty of unknowns about his future. Whether he is going to retire is not among them.
Despite his future in New York potentially being in limbo, Manning intends to be on some team’s roster in 2018.
“I plan on playing next season,” Manning said twice Sunday after the Giants’ 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback will turn 37 next month and saw his streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts end Sunday, when he was replaced by Geno Smith.
Smith threw for 212 yards with a touchdown in the loss, while Manning spent the afternoon on the sideline, helping his teammates when possible. He spent most of the afternoon alongside rookie Davis Webb analyzing the Giants’ play calls.
Losing his starting role apparently hasn’t swayed Manning’s desire to play, even if he says he has not fully contemplated his future.
“No, there is no point,” Manning said. “I can’t control what is going to happen. Just finish out this season in whatever capacity they need me to do and go from there.”
Several factors could play heavily into Manning’s future. The Giants are going to be selecting near the top of the 2018 draft and could take a quarterback. USC’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen will likely be within their reach, if those players declare for the draft.
Manning has a no-trade clause that puts the cards in his hands about where he could land. He could force the Giants into a decision by March 18, when he is due a $5 million roster bonus.
It’s not out of the question that Manning still could return to the Giants despite the events of this week. Manning said he is “not mad at anybody” after a tumultuous week that saw him lose his starting job and get emotional while speaking about it at his locker.
A lot will likely change with the Giants before Manning’s future can take shape. General manager Jerry Reese’s job status is believed to be in jeopardy, and coach Ben McAdoo could be fired as early as Monday.
“I don’t want that. I don’t want anybody to get fired,” Manning said. “When a coach gets fired, it’s usually because the team, the players and myself haven’t performed up to our duties. I don’t want to see that. So I hope there is no truth to it.”
In the meantime, Manning is the backup to Smith and a mentor to Webb. He is trying to be the best teammate possible under the circumstances.
“I knew once it got to [Sunday], I’d be a good teammate,” Manning said. “I’d support all the guys, be ready to play if I was called upon, support Geno, support the offensive guys, do what I had to do if I saw something that I would need to tell them.
“When I look back at the amount of people that reached out to me this week, the importance of being a good teammate hit home. All the old teammates that have reached out to me, called me, I appreciate their support, I appreciate the things they say, and it has kind of helped me get through these past couple days, these tough days. It kind of reminded me I need to be a good teammate to everybody here and do my part.”