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For Eli Manning, age matters only in the locker room

Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws a pass during

Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws a pass during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Tuesday. Credit: Brad Penner

Eli Manning seems to be finding playing in the NFL at 37 years old easier than being in an NFL locker room at 37 years old.

“There is a lot of dancing going on, which I find curious,” Manning said of being a decade and a half older than some of his teammates. “I miss out on some of the music and stuff. Social media, some of the things they’re on. But for the most part I can figure it out.”

The subject came up because Pat Shurmur gave a little jab about Manning’s age earlier in the day. Speaking of Manning and Odell Beckham Jr., Shurmur compared them both as perfectionists. “They’re not from the same generation, though,” Shurmur said. “He’ll give E grief because I’m talking about his age, but it’s real. Unless he faked his birth certificate, he’s 37, and Odell is much younger. Because of that there is a difference in how they look at things.”

Manning said the key to bridging that generation gap is to accept it.

“I’m not trying to act like I’m 22,” he said. “I act my age and I make fun of myself a lot and they add to it probably. That’s fine.”

Manning used to connect with his teammates via practical jokes. He was well known for changing the language setting to Chinese on smartphones that were casually left out in the open. That gag is tougher to pull off now.

“They all have pretty secure passwords,” Manning said. “Odell’s isn’t 1313 anymore. They got smarter and changed their passwords on me a little bit, so I have to regroup and find a new system.”

Still, Manning said humor is a good way to connect.

“I think you have to have fun with them,” he said of his millennial teammates. “There are times when it is serious and you’re talking ball. And they always know just by the way I approach them whether I have something serious to talk about, a route or a concept or something. But there’s a time to goof off and have fun and get to know the lighter side of them.”

And sometimes join the party.

“I do a lot of dancing,” Manning said. “I do a lot more than I used to.”

Blasts from the past

Former Giants safety Antrel Rolle was at practice Tuesday and Shurmur noted that former wide receiver Victor Cruz, who retired Tuesday, is always welcome to stop by. Shurmur has made it a point of extending such invitations to former players, including Tiki Barber and Michael Strahan.

“They understand what it means to be a Giant from a player’s perspective, and they understand what it takes to win Super Bowls,” Shurmur said of his desire to have such faces from the past around the team. “I talk to everybody, not just players. I called some former [Giants] coaches as well, because I think it’s important to hear their perspective, and I’m always looking for perspective. Maybe there’s something that they say that might help me message the team, or maybe they’ll tell me something that was really special to them as they were building a champion. So I think it’s important to embrace the great players from the past.”

Giant steps

CB Donte Deayon saw some first-team reps at nickel, his second full practice back after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury … LB Ray-Ray Armstrong said playing safety in college at Miami helps him in pass coverage. “I’ve always been a skill position guy, I’ve always played safety,” Armstrong said. “On offense in high school, I played quarterback and wide receiver. Growing up playing different positions has helped me out now.” Armstrong had an interception against the Lions and Shurmur praised his coverage skills … LB Mark Herzlich, flagged for leading with his helmet against the Lions on a play in which replays clearly showed he had not (and that Lions RB Theo Riddick initiated that contact on him), said he would not change what he did on that play. “That’s not the intent of the rule,” he said of the call against him. “We do have to be careful to know what the intent of the rule is and what plays you can’t do… To me, at the end of the day, the spirit and the purpose of this rule is right. We want our players to be safe. We want to take the head out of the game. You see in preseason a lot of times when you get certain holding calls on punt returns emphasized, it’s called a lot. This could be a situation where they are overcalling it right now so you get used to it, but as players, we do have to know that they are out there.”


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