Eli Manning will leave the field at MetLife Stadium on Sunday for what may be his final time as a Giant, but the quarterback insisted he will not allow any sentimentality to creep into the moment.
Asked if he will take a moment either late in the game or immediately after it to possibly look around and soak up what could be some final memories, Manning said: “I don’t think [so]. I’m sure I’ll have other opportunities to be in that stadium down the road if it is the last one.”
Before there was time to figure out which teams will be visiting New York in 2018 and could be possible Manning landing spots, Manning clarified his somewhat cryptic comment. He said he meant that he’ll return for Giants games and functions such as, presumably, having his name added to the Ring of Honor shortly after he departs.
When might that be? Manning said as he has all along that he doesn’t know what the future holds for him with the Giants. He has two years remaining on his current contract but a new general manager and coach will be deciding his fate in the coming weeks and months. Manning has expressed a desire to remain with the Giants, but his desire to continue playing quarterback in the NFL trumps that aspiration.
“I don’t know how it’s going to play out,” he said. “Again, [we’re] trying to finish this season and after that, I don’t know what happens or how it all works. Just going to wait and see.”
The only thing for certain right now is Sunday’s start. Manning may not even get to finish the game; with rookie Davis Webb promoted to backup there will be some incentive to replace Manning at some point.
If it is Manning’s last game as a Giant, he seems prepared.
“I think in football you never know when your last game is going to be,” he said. “It’s a physical game, so you always treat it like it’s your last.”
As for a potential going-away gift, Manning has just one request: A win.
“And kind of be able to leave the stadium with a smile.”
Notes & quotes: Rookie TE Evan Engram (bruised ribs) did not practice on Wednesday but said he hopes to play on Sunday. “This is our last chance, our last opportunity to fight together,” he said of his teammates. “The DNA of this locker room isn’t going to be the same [next year] so this is the last time that we get to go out there and fight together . . . I’ll definitely try everything in the book to get out there and fight with my brothers.” . . . LB B.J. Goodson was placed on injured reserve. Goodson missed eight games with shin and ankle injuries. He had 18 tackles in the opener and finished the year with 53 . . . Besides Engram, WR Sterling Shepard (neck), WR Tavarres King (concussion) and DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) did not practice.