Eli Manning gets QB job back after Ben McAdoo, Jerry Reese fired

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eli Manning is expected to return as the New York Giants' starting quarterback after a one-week demotion, a source told ESPN.

The Giants host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. There had been talk of former players coming to the game and standing on the sideline in No. 10 Manning jerseys in a show of solidarity.

Manning had a streak of 210 consecutive starts end Sunday when the Giants lost 24-17 in Oakland. Geno Smith started in his place.

It was a move that prompted outcry from fans and former and current players. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers called the handling of the situation "pathetic."

Manning stood and watched on the sideline as Smith had his ups and downs Sunday, completing 21 of 34 passes for 212 yards, one touchdown and two fumbles in the loss. Coach Ben McAdoo, who was fired Monday morning, said Smith had done nothing to prevent himself from getting another start.

But defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is now the Giants' interim head coach. Manning's former quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan remains the offensive coordinator.

In a news conference on Monday to announce the firing of McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese, Giants co-owner John Mara would not confirm that Manning will return to the starting quarterback position on Sunday. He said the final decision will be up to Spagnuolo.

Manning said in an interview with WFAN Radio in New York on Monday that he talked to Spagnuolo and told him he wanted to start.

"I do not know for certain if I'm starting. I hope I am," Manning told WFAN's Mike Francesa. "I did speak with Coach Spags for a little bit, told him I wanted to be starting QB, be out there and win these four games. He said he appreciated that and was going to talk with the offensive guys, and I hope I'm out there against the Dallas Cowboys."

Manning, 36, had started every game since midway through his rookie season before Sunday. He holds just about every Giants passing record.

In the same interview with WFAN, Manning seemed to remain optimistic about his future.

"I don't know what the future is, that's part of football. I don't know, I don't think a bond has been broken. I'm not bitter about what happened last week, not angry at any of those people or the organization. I understand. I'm not happy about it, I'm mad about it, I was crushed over it, but I understood what decisions have to be made when you're out of the playoffs and you've won two games. You want to look at the other guys, and I'm about to be 37 years old. I don't like it, but I get it in a sense.

"I look at it like we've got four games left and I'd hope to be the starting quarterback and win these games.I don't know what's going to happen next year, I know I want to keep playing, I think I have a lot of good football left in me."

Manning was emotional after declining the Giants' original plan to start against the Raiders to keep his streak alive before giving way to Smith.

"I don't blame anybody for the way it was handled," Manning said Sunday night of the Giants' decision to evaluate other quarterbacks down the stretch. "I think Coach McAdoo tried to do something right by me, by saying they were going to let me play. But just knowing that I was going to come out of the game, I just couldn't play it that way.

"You know, I appreciated it. He was trying to do me a favor, but it's just not the way I could go into a game, knowing I'm going to be pulled out. I appreciated them giving me that option, but I think he understood when I said I can't do it that way."

Manning has completed 63 percent of his passes this season for 2,411 yards. He has 14 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in 11 games.

Related Video