A text came to Eli Manning's phone late last week and it revealed some information that he had been expecting. It was his older brother informing him of his decision to retire after 18 years in the NFL.
"Just telling me that he was going to probably have a press conference on Monday announcing it. We had not talked about it kind of straight up," Eli told the Giants' team website. "I was with him over the weekend prior to that, and nothing came up. I didn't ask him, but I kind of had a feeling it had been on his mind."
Eli didn't make the trip to Denver due to a stomach bug but watched his brother's news conference on Monday.
"I am happy, obviously, for him winning a championship and getting to go out being happy about how the last season ended. You don't get to have those feelings very often, to end your football career on a positive note. It is special. I am happy that he was able to kind of go out on his own terms," Eli said. "I know it was tough for him, but I'm proud of the way he handled today. I thought he did a great job up there in his speech. You could see that it's going to be tough for him, but I think it is good timing and he's getting out at the right time."
"I guess I sensed that it was maybe coming to an end. I didn't know for sure, but I just saw that he wasn't the same quarterback that he's been, even from the year before. Hey, that can happen. You get injured and injuries can make a season tough," Eli said. "You get injuries and you're 39, it's just hard to recover.
"The recovery process takes longer, and has a greater impact on your play than when you're 33 or 35. Just wasn't quite the same from just being as being productive as he's been. I thought he gave it his all, and it was a good time and a good opportunity to get out."
For the first time in Eli's professional career he won't have his future Hall of Fame brother to compete with. Eli is 0-3 against Peyton in regular-season matchups. However, they are tied in the ring count. Only time will tell if Eli will be able one-up his brother in Lombardi trophies.