Yesterday, the world learned Eli Manning was being unceremoniously benched by the New York Giants in favor of Geno Smith, a quarterback with a 12-18 record over the course of his playing career who will absolutely, positively turn the team’s dismal season around. For many, the announcement essentially ushered in the end of an era, as this will be the first time in 210 games that Manning won’t be on the receiving end of the Giants’ first snap of the game.
Manning might have been kicked to the curb by the team he led to two Super Bowls, and while he doesn’t have the support of coaching genius (and used-car salesman in disguise) Ben McAdoo, there are still plenty of players— both current and former— who are on his side.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan extended his condolences in an interview with PFT Live, saying:
“I feel for him. I really do. For how consistent he’s been in his career, for what he’s done for that city, for that organization, it’s hard. I really feel for him. I’ve known Eli for a long time, he’s an absolute stud of a competitor and he’s even better off the field. So I hurt for him right now.”
However, he was far from the only person to question the Giants’ decision. Plenty of people were a bit more vocal, including Justin Tuck, Brandon Jacobs, and former CFL superstar Kurt Warner:
Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall— who was sidelined for the season after an ankle injury back in October— took to Instagram to offer his support:
Manning’s former coach Tom Coughlin also chimed in:
“Surprised is not the word. My sentiments are totally with Eli Manning. I love the kid. He is a class act. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion. He is the finest, most humblest young man in that locker room. I haven’t followed the Giants. I know it’s a disappointing year, but my thoughts are strictly with Eli. I was very upset … when I heard that.”
Words can only do so much, but at least Manning knows most of the NFL is on his side.