NEW YORK: Eli Manning’s run of 210 straight regular-season starts for the New York Giants will end Sunday when the struggling NFL team starts Geno Smith at quarterback against the Oakland Raiders.
“Geno will start this week,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), adding that over the final five games of the season the team would also give rookie quarterback Davis Webb a try.
“It’s hard, hard day to handle this,” the 36-year-old Manning admitted in comments to reporters.
His 210 straight starts date back to 2004, when he was traded to the Giants after his selection as the top overall pick by the San Diego Chargers.
Manning said he never considered an abbreviated start just to keep the streak going.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” said the two-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. “My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them,” Manning said.
“Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak. Like I always have, I will be ready to play if and when I am needed. I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can.”
The Giants started the season with a five-game losing streak and head into December at 2-9.
“This is not a statement about anything other than we are 2-9, and we have to do what is best for the organization moving forward, and that means evaluating every position,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese said.
“I told Eli (Tuesday) morning that an organization could not ask for any more in a franchise quarterback. He has been that and more. Nobody knows what the future holds, but right now, this is what we think is best for the franchise.”