It may be hard to believe, but Eli Manning is entering his 10th season as New York Giants quarterback. And over the past decade, the cool as a cucumber Eli has done little else but win — including two Super Bowl titles — while representing his team about as well as one can. In fact, the way he's carried himself both on and off the field recently resulted in a comparison for the ages from the very man who traded for him: former Big Blue General Manager Ernie Accorsi.
“On top of it all, he’s everything you always want in a New York quarterback,” Accorsi said to the New York Daily News. “He’s humble, he handles the media well, never in a way that’s reactionary and he’s classy. He is as close to Derek Jeter as any athlete has ever been. He’s been ideal. He’s a joy.”
Accorsi has never been shy nor quiet in his praise for Manning, but the comparison to New York Yankees (see: Yankees 101) captain Derek Jeter brings it to a whole new level. Jeter is commonly referred to as one of the greatest athletes in New York sports history, and is widely known as being equally as humble and classy.
But, it's almost a story that never was.
Halfway through their 15 minutes on draft day, Accorsi was ready to select quarterback Ben Roethlisberger when San Diego Chargers GM A.J. Smith finally called. And with mere minutes remaining, they were able to workout a deal that would send Manning to New York and the yet to be drafted Philip Rivers to San Diego.
“I trusted [Smith], but I didn’t know him very well. It was not like dealing with Bill Polian, who I had known for 25 years,” Accorsi said. “I took a chance. I gambled.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
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