Giants quarterback Eli Manning said he has no hard feelings toward former head coach Ben McAdoo or GM Jerry Reese after the franchise's co-owners, John Mara and Steve Tisch, fired them Monday morning amid New York's 2-10 start to the season.
Manning told WFAN's Mike Francesa that he was "surprised and shocked" by McAdoo's decision to bench him last week in favor of Geno Smith for Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders, but said given the Giants had lost nine of the first 11 games of the season, "You've got to be willing to accept the consequences of that."
When asked his thoughts on the Giants' decision to clean house, Manning said that was not something he thought about.
"I'm not happy about Jerry Reese getting fired or Ben McAdoo getting fired," said Manning, who credited Reese for helping build the rosters that led the Giants to two Super Bowls and McAdoo for revitalizing New York's offense. "That wasn't what I wanted."
Despite a report indicating Manning would likely return as the team's starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys after his streak of 210 consecutive starts was snapped, the 36-year-old quarterback said interim coach Steve Spagnuolo has not yet made a decision. That said, Manning said he spoke with Spagnuolo and said he wanted to start again.
"I told him I wanted to be the starting quarterback, told him I wanted to be out there and win the next four games," Manning said.
Though McAdoo gave Manning the opportunity to start and then exit the game in the second half in order to maintain the streak, Manning rejected that idea. He said the thoughest part of the past week was "just being told that I wasn't being asked to go win a football game with the New York Giants.
"That's what being the starting quarterback is," Manning added. "... I didn't get a win every single time, but I was expecting to every single time. ... This week, that wasn't the case. ... Part of me was taken away."
While Smith was practicing along the Giants' first team last week, Manning was running the scout team, even having a light competition with rookie Davis Webb. He said it was a "difficult" adjustment for him, but
"I just tried to be positive, be a good leader, be a good person on the sideline ... and be a good teammate," Manning said.
Several former Giants expressed their support for Manning after news broke that he would not be the team's starting quarterback for the first time since 2004, and Manning said he was grateful for them.
"After this week and after so many former teammates reached out to me and praised me and told me to keep my head up ... that's where the loyalty is," Manning said.
Manning said he "never put much into the streak," instead saying he was proud of his work ethic since joining the Giants in 2004. He said he plans to play in 2018 and said he felt he has "a lot of good football left in me," though he added, "I don't know what the future is, and that's part of football.
"I told Coach McAdoo, I told Jerry Reese, John Mara, I'm not bitter about what happened last week," Manning said. "I'm not angry at those people or the organization. ... I understood decisions had to be made when you're in that situation. ... I don't like it, but I get it in a sense. I'm not angry at anyone. We have four games left, I hope to be the starting quarterback and win those games."