After spending his first Sunday on the sidelines watching in more than 13 years, Eli Manning was able to draw one big conclusion.
He doesn't want his career to end like that.
Despite at least one report that the 36-year-old Manning would consider retiring in the wake of the Giants decision to bench him this week, the former franchise quarterback shot that down when asked if he planned on playing somewhere in 2018.
"Yeah," he said. "I plan on playing next season."
The big question, of course, is where. Clearly he would prefer to remain a Giant, though likely only as their starting quarterback. With that in doubt, multiple sources told SNY last week that Manning would consider waiving the no-trade clause in his contract for the chance to go somewhere else to start.
But in the moments after the Giants' 24-17 loss in Oakland with Geno Smith at quarterback, Manning said he hasn't thought about his future just yet.
"No, there's no point," he said. "You can't control what's going to happen. Finish out. We've got four games left. Finish out this season in whatever capacity they need me to do and go from there."
Manning, in the words of embattled head coach Ben McAdoo, "has been a pro" about his situation all week long, and he continued that on Sunday. He took the high road when asked about the way McAdoo handled this mess, and about the possibility that McAdoo was about to be fired.
On whether the Giants and McAdoo could've handled his situation better, Manning said, "No. I don't blame anybody for the way it was handled. I think Coach McAdoo tried to do something right by me, saying, 'We'll let you play,' but just knowing I was coming out of the game. I couldn't play that way. (But) I appreciated it. I thought he was trying to do me a favor."
And on the possibility McAdoo would be fired, Manning said, "I don't want that. I don't want anybody to get fired. … I don't want to see that. I hope there's no truth to it."
That was a generous reaction on both counts by Manning, on what for him had to be an unusually difficult day.
"Hey, I want to be out there. I want to be playing, but this is the situation we're in," he said. "At 2-9 they want to take a look at other guys. I understand it. I'm not mad at anybody. When you're in this situation, whatever happens there's a reason and you have to accept it."