Manning on his elite QB claim: 'What am I supposed to say?'

Eli Manning has been around long enough to understand the power of the media. That's why he can't be too surprised that his recent comments about being in the same class of quarterback as Tom Brady has received so much play.

But Manning doesn't regret what he said, mostly because he's not sure what the alternative answer is.

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"It was kind of like, what am I supposed to say? 'No, I don't think so?' " the New York Giants quarterback said in Wednesday on WFAN-AM, according to *The Star-Ledger*. "I'm trying to compete; I'm trying to be the best quarterback and get to a championship. That's what I'm trying to do every year."

Giants coach Tom Coughlin feels the same way as Manning.

"I do (think Manning's elite), but what would you expect him to say?" Coughlin said. "He is for me."

Where Manning falls on the list of top NFL quarterbacks often is a subject of debate. He has put up some impressive numbers and, of course, guided the Giants to a shocking upset victory over Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

But Manning also has battled turnover problems since entering the league in 2004. He threw a career-high 25 interceptions last season.

"What you've got to do is cut down on the mental mistakes," Manning said. "There are some that are just bad decisions; those are on me. Some are tipped that are not on me, some are tipped because they're high and I'll take (the blame) for those."

Manning threw an interception during Wednesday's practice when his ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Eight of Manning's interceptions in 2010 were tipped, and another was ripped out of the hands of ex-teammate Steve Smith.

Still, Coughlin would like to see his quarterback play smarter at times.

"Sometimes it's better to, instead of take a risk like that, throw it away," the coach said. "Sometimes it's the high balls. A little more accuracy perhaps."

Manning looks at Brady and sees a quarterback who played the best football of his career at age 33. Like Brady, Manning, 30, hopes he has prime seasons in the second phase of his career.

"I'm hoping these next seven years are my best seven," he said. "My body feels great, I feel young, my arm is alive, I have a great feel for the offense, it's the same offense I've been in. We're getting guys who have been in for a few years now and have a better understanding."

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