Eli Manning had to straighten something out right from the start with rookie quarterback Davis Webb.
The Giants’ 36-year-old quarterback welcomed Webb — the team’s third-round draft pick and potential successor to the two-time Super Bowl winner — by calling him shortly after the Cal-Berkeley quarterback was taken with the 87th overall pick April 28.
“I just wanted to welcome him to the team, let him know if he has any questions or needs anything in the next few days, I was here for him,” Manning said. “He responded to that with, ‘Yes, sir.’ I told him we were off to a bad start. Please do not refer to me as ‘sir.’ I appreciate the manners, but we’re teammates. I was always taught the same thing. Anyone older than me, I have to call them ‘sir.’ But hopefully we straightened that out.”
Now that Manning has cleared that up, he’s ready, willing and able to help his rookie teammate — who is 14 years younger — even if he might one day take his job. For now, Eli is secure as the team’s starter.
“We hope that Eli plays for a long time for us,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “Eli is our quarterback, and we still think that he can play at a high level.”
Manning has resumed his offseason conditioning and has found time to help his charitable causes. Last week, he was the celebrity chairman for the March for Babies walk in Manhattan. Tomorrow, he will attend the fifth annual NBC 4 New York & Telemundo 47 Health & Fitness Expo at MetLife Stadium.
He also is set to visit with several children and their families who are part of the Tackle Kids Cancer All-Stars, a program affiliated with Hackensack UMC. Last September, Manning launched “Eli’s Challenge,” raising $250,000 for the Tackle Kids Cancer program.
“The whole campaign with Tackle Kids Cancer has been better than expected,” Manning said. “The amount of people in their communities fundraising and setting up programs to raise money has been incredible. You hear a lot of stories about kids setting up bake sales or doing something because their buddy is dealing with cancer. So many people are affected by a child with cancer. It definitely hits a lot of hearts. This is an opportunity to thank all those people for all their hard work and everything they did.”
Manning will resume his offseason conditioning Monday, but he won’t get to meet Webb just yet. Rookies will participate separately in a minicamp Friday, after which the full team can work together.
“I really don’t know much about Davis,” Manning said. “I know he started off at Texas Tech and transferred to Cal his senior year. I know he’s a big kid and it sounds like he has a strong arm. I know a few of the other names and several other quarterbacks that were in the draft. A couple of them I had met before at our [Manning family] passing camp in [Louisiana in] the summer. Several have been to that. You get to know them a little bit and watch them in college. I look forward to meeting Davis, welcoming him to the team and see if he needs any help from me. I’m always happy to give it.”
Manning already knows first-round tight end Evan Engram, who attended Manning’s alma mater at the University of Mississippi.
“I know Evan a little bit,’’ Manning said. “I’ve thrown with him over the years at Ole Miss. I’ve watched him play, obviously. I know he’s a heck of an athlete that can really run, stretch the field, catch the ball well. Every coach and person I’ve talked to said he’s a great kid, a hard worker that plays the right way, acts the right way and will be a great addition to the team. I’m excited about adding another weapon to the offense and look forward to him coming in and helping us out.”
Engram had 162 catches at Ole Miss, including 65 his senior year. He also caught eight touchdown passes last year.
“I think we have a lot of weapons,” Manning said of the Giants’ passing game. “Some of it is you want to get specific guys in certain places and have them use their abilities to our advantage or have them create matchups. We should be able to run our base plays and should be able to go through our progressions. Hopefully the guys that should be winning those one-on-one matchups are winning them. It is exciting to have what we think are quality players.”