Rookies keep rolling in. Odell Beckham was traded away. The ranks are joined by brokers like Golden Tate. The offensive line is shuffled and improved.
As the nights and days fly for the New York Giants, the 38-year-old Eli Manning has seemingly become the constant.
“You take it year by year,” Manning tells nola.com’s Rod Walker at a must-read feature for Eli fans and critics alike. “I have been blessed going into my 16th year. That’s been a boon in itself. I love what I am doing. I love the work that goes into it. You will never know when it’s going to be your final year or when it’s likely to be the end for you, so you attempt to make the most of those years you are here and enjoy every second.”
Fifteen NFL seasons, four Pro Bowls and 2 Super Bowls into a career that some believe will conclude in Canton and others believe has outstayed its welcome, Manning explains that he feels young when it comes to playing and is in no rush to hang up his cleats.
The Giants chosen Duke quarterback Daniel Jones in the 2019 NFL Draft. Having drawn plenty of comparisons to Manning, Jones is set up to triumph Manning — perhaps sooner than later. But it is Jones and his 2019 class of rookies, just as those before them, that apparently inspires Manning to stay forever young under centre but reminds him of his era when games and practices conclude.
“In the locker room, I think their age,” Manning said. “At 8 o’clock at night, I don’t feel their era. I am ready to go to bed and they’re just getting started rolling and rocking. I can not hang and do whatever they can do off the area. But on the area, I feel like I could still run with them and they keep me young.”
As has frequently been the tale told by former players, it’s the camaraderie which Manning knows he’ll miss. Mature brother Peyton, among the biggest the game has ever seen, has awakened that wisdom upon him. Hence, there’s yet another reason Manning finds no reason to rate into the wake of his playing days.
“I’m not rushing into retirement, and Peyton’s not telling me to hurry into it,” the Giants QB said. “I love being around the guys and the teammates and playing with this game. I will play it for so long as I think I can hang with these guys”
For your Big Blue faithful that is only concerned with transferring the franchise forward and return to its winning ways, that is also Manning’s priority and what pushes him over anything else. And of course his 66 completion percentage in 2018 was the very best in his profession and his 4,299 yards were his highest since his final Pro Bowl appearance in 2015.