POMONA, N.Y. - The former Giants who won championships with Eli Manning have long been his biggest defenders. But even they understand that the end is coming for their quarterback.
They just don't think the end is here yet.
"I chuckle at the reports you hear weekly about how Eli can't play quarterback and he's washed up," said former Giants center Shaun O'Hara. "Nothing could be further from the truth. The Giants have lost a lot of games the last few years, but they're not all Eli's fault -- and none of them are because Eli can't throw the ball."
O'Hara and several other former Giants were in agreement on Saturday night at the Landon Collins Celebrity Softball Classic at Palisades Credit Union Park that even at 38 years old, Manning can still be a winning a quarterback. Former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said "Absolutely. I think he's still got one more good one left in him."
And maybe more, since when Jacobs ran into Manning at the Super Bowl in February "He said he's going to play another couple of years."
That might be optimistic, considering the Giants just drafted his likely replacement - Daniel Jones - with the sixth overall pick, and since Manning is entering the final year of his contract. But O'Hara thinks it's possible if the Giants' rebuilt offensive line can finally give their quarterback some protection.
That, O'Hara said, has been Manning's biggest problem over the last few years.
"Try to hit a home run with someone charging at your legs or falling at your ankles," O'Hara said. "It's hard. But Eli's arm - there's nothing wrong with his arm. I think his arm is just as good, if not better now."
Of course, that's not what Odell Beckham Jr. indicated recently when he said that catching passes in Cleveland from Baker Mayfield has been "completely different" than his experience with Manning, and that he has "to get adjusted to the speed because he's got an arm."
O'Hara, who has worked out and caught some passes from Manning during the last few offseasons, clearly disagrees.
"His arm is just as strong," O'Hara said. "I know he can spin it. I've caught some balls from him pretty much every summer for the last few years and I tell you what, that thing is humming. You get scared when that ball is bearing down on you because you know if you don't catch that thing you're going to rearrange your face."