The last time Eli Manning didn’t start a regular season game for the Giants came on November 14, 2004 when Kurt Warner led them into a contest against a Cardinals team quarterbacked by Josh McCown, but that long run will come to an end this Sunday.
The Giants announced on Tuesday that Geno Smith will start and that they plan to get rookie Davis Webb work over the final five weeks of the season, leaving Manning to serve as the backup after making 210 consecutive starts for the team that traded with the Chargers to get him after he went first overall in the 2004 draft.
“It’s hard. Hard day to handle this. Hang in there and figure it out,” Manning said while speaking to reporters in front of his locker.
As noted in the team’s statement announcing the move, Manning rejected the idea of starting and playing for a half because it isn’t a preseason game.
“It’s not fair to me, it’s not fair to Geno,” Manning said.
Manning, who was as emotional as he’s ever been during a media session, said he didn’t like the move and didn’t see it coming although he admitted being 2-9 makes this “uncharted territory. Manning doesn’t know what it means for his future with the franchise, but that he’ll do what he can to help the other quarterbacks get ready to play.