Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. might not have always seen eye-to-eye before Beckham was traded to the Browns, but that had no impact on Manning's first reaction when he found out about the trade while "watching TV one night."
"I wanted to try to reach out to him," Manning said Monday during a conference call. "That was my first reaction. Odell has been a teammate for five years, has been a good friend. And these circumstances, you kind of think about the person involved."
Manning said he was able to quickly reach Beckham and that the two have "been in touch a little bit."
During the 2018 season, Beckham questioned during an ESPN interview whether Manning was the right quarterback for the Giants. And there were rumblings before Beckham was traded that Manning remaining as the QB was one of the reasons he was unhappy in 2018.
With Beckham now gone, Manning was asked how the Giants would replace him -- and expressed confidence in the group that's there.
"Guys gotta step up," he said. "We have good players on this team -- talented receivers and running backs. It's by committee."
"He's a tremendous player and he was a tremendous player for us," Manning added. "There's certain things he can do that not everybody can do," he noted, saying they still have guys who can help them score "a lot of points"
And Manning, who is entering his 16th season in the NFL, was not surprised by the trade
"Being in the NFL for 16 years. ... I don't think there's a whole lot of surprises anymore," he said. "You just learn to deal with everything. You learn to adjust, you move on."
For Manning, that moving on will mean running a Giants offense that has removed Beckham, added Golden Tate, and extended Sterling Shepard. Meanwhile, Odell will be "off his leash" in Cleveland.