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Giants GM Dave Gettleman likes Eli Manning, but there are no guarantees

Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants

Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants waves to the fans as he runs off the field after defeating the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Dave Gettleman had a big smile and a warm hug waiting for Eli Manning on Sunday when the quarterback came off the field after a win over Washington at MetLife Stadium. It was an embrace of familiarity and reintroduction. Of respect.

“I’ve known Eli since he came into the league,” Gettleman said of the Giants’ acquisition of the quarterback on draft day in 2004, which was right in the middle of his 12-year stint as the team’s director of pro personnel.

When it comes to making a decision on Manning’s future, however, the time for hugging is clearly over.

Gettleman, speaking on WFAN on Tuesday, said there will be one overarching criteria he will look at.

“At the end of the day you have to win,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s about winning, OK? That’s what it’s about. That’s why I’m here.”

That would seem to put Manning on some shaky ground because he’s helmed only one playoff game in the past six seasons. His record as a starter since he left the field in Indianapolis with his second Super Bowl MVP is 42-54.

Gettleman said the real judge in the situation will be the film.

“[You] can’t look at it with any emotion,” he said. “It’s business. Every decision we make here is going to be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants.”

Gettleman reiterated that he had not seen much of Manning this season, and that the only game he watched closely was the 434-yard passing performance against the Eagles.

“The guy I saw that day was the guy who put two rings on my fingers,” Gettleman said.

The rest of the season was not at that level. And those are the games Gettleman will be dissecting.

“We’ll continue to evaluate, move forward and continue the process,” he said. “You can talk about this guy, talk about that guy, it’s what’s going on between the white lines. It’s the film. It’s not pretty. It’s not a quick view . . . It takes time. You have to be objective.”

The last two guys who wronged Manning were hit with so much wrath from the public that the Giants were forced to fire them within a week of naming Geno Smith the starter. New York City and the NFL were in a virtual uproar over the decision.

“I wasn’t here while it was happening,” Gettleman said. “I was down in Charlotte. I was on the outside looking in like everybody else. So I have no idea about the machinations of it or whatever. But at the end of the day it’s about putting the best football team on the field to win games in the National Football League for the New York Football Giants.”

To that end, Gettleman said he’ll have a conversation with Manning regarding his future with the organization. Manning said he’s waiting for the new general manager to have some free time, which is hard to find with a coaching search and other craziness happening.

When they do meet, they may hug before their chat. And they may hug after it, too. But in between, Gettleman made it clear that he’ll be about as blunt with Manning as perhaps anyone in the organization has ever been.

“Yeah, he and I are going to sit down and have a conversations,” Gettleman said. “I told the players yesterday that my door is always open and you are more than welcome to come in and say hello. Just understand that I’m an old man and I don’t have time to fool around, so I’m going to be straight and direct. I’m not going to be mean, but I’m going to be straight and honest and we’ll come to an agreement and we’ll move forward.”

Whether that’s with or without Manning as a member of the Giants remains to be seen.

Vikings Shurmur joins coaching candidates. The Giants added another candidate to their coaching search on Tuesday when they requested permission to interview Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. He joins a list of candidates that include Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, and former Broncos associate head coach Eric Studesville. McDaniels, one of the most in-demand candidates in the NFL, reportedly will interview with the Giants on Friday. He also will meet with the Colts on Thursday and the Bears on Friday during what figures to be a busy weekend for him . . . Steve Spagnuolo, who served as interim head coach of the Giants for the final four games of 2017, will get the first interview for the job on Wednesday.

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