Eli Manning believes Giants not 'far' from competing

Eli Manning knows a new general manager and coaching staff could precipitate his exit from New York. If it were up to the Giants quarterback, however, he'd never leave Big Blue.

"This is what I love to do," he said Tuesday on WFAN, via Newsday. "I love playing football, I love playing quarterback, and I want to continue to do it for the Giants. This is the only team I ever wanted to play for and I don't want to change. I do understand how this season has gone and new people [are] coming in. If they want to make a change, then we'll go down that road."

The Giants crashed and burned in 2017, falling to 2-13 heading into Week 17 after a playoff appearance last year. Despite the struggles in all three phases of the game, Manning believes New York could have a quick turnaround in 2018.

"It may be hard to realize or say it but I don't think the Giants are far off," he said. "We won 11 games the year before, played a lot of teams tough this year with injuries and losing guys. It was one of those years we lost a lot of tight games or games getting down to the fourth quarter and we just couldn't quite compete just because we lost too many guys or just lost some heart-breakers ... I don't think it's far off once you get some guys back."

Assuming Odell Beckham Jr. returns healthy, it's certainly conceivable the Giants can make a quick turnaround. The NFL is set up for the bottom of the league to rise quickly. Eight of the 12 teams that will make the playoffs this year missed out on the tournament in 2016 -- including all five of the top seeds in the NFC. On paper, the Giants have the talent to go from a dumpster fire to playoffs with the right leadership.

While Manning understands that leadership might want to go in a different direction at quarterback, he said he's not averse to competing for his job. Manning also sounded like retirement is the only option he's not considering.

"I think I still have good football in me," he said. "I don't want to stop playing football. This is all I want to do. I don't have a backup plan, I don't have something I'm looking forward to doing when this is done."

Whether Manning's career continues in New York or another destination will be one of the biggest questions the new GM and coach will encounter in the coming months.

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