Eli considering retirement, not a backup QB role
2:28 PM ET
  • Jordan RaananESPN Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Eli Manning is contemplating retirement. If he does return, it almost certainly will not be with the New York Giants.

Manning, who turns 39 on Friday, has spent all 16 of his professional seasons with the team that traded for him during the 2004 NFL draft. But he isn’t interested in being Daniel Jones‘ backup next season.

“I doubt it. I doubt it,” Manning said the day after the Giants completed a 4-12 season where he spent most of his time as the second-string quarterback. “Backing up is not real fun.”

Manning will spend the next days and weeks contemplating his future. He’s going to talk with his family and decide what is best for him and them. He said coaching isn’t really an option, aside from serving as the assistant for his daughter’s third-grade basketball team.

“I don’t think so,” Manning said of coaching football. “I felt like I was a coach this year and I didn’t enjoy it that much.”

Retirement is a much more realistic possibility for Manning after 236 career games and two Super Bowl MVPs.

“Yeah, everything is an option,” Manning said. “That is the first decision, whether I want to continue to play or not.”

What Manning does know is that he wants to make a decision rather quickly.

But there is no concrete timetable. The Giants’ season ended Sunday and the Super Bowl is in February. Free agency begins in March. Manning is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career.

He admitted needing to figure out how much quality football he still has left in his body. Manning started four games and threw six touchdown passes and five interceptions this season.

“That is what I will decide,” Manning said. “I’ll just try to figure it out. I think I can still play.”

What will factor into his decision is how he feels about playing for another team.

His father, Archie, has told ESPN on multiple occasions that he didn’t foresee his youngest son ever playing for another franchise. That was Archie’s opinion. Now it’s Eli’s turn to actually make that decision.

“That will come into the consideration,” he said. “That is what I’ll be thinking about these next couple days.”

Manning has thrown 366 touchdown passes and 244 interceptions. He owns a 117-117 record as a starter in the regular season.

And then there were those two magical playoff runs that led to two Super Bowls and two Super Bowl MVPs. Those are part of the indelible images he leaves behind and the memories he talked about taking with him.

This was always the expected outcome of this season though. The Giants drafted Jones sixth overall last April and view him as their quarterback of the future, seemingly regardless of their new coach. They fired coach Pat Shurmur on Monday.

Jones took over as the starter this season after two games.

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