In 2004, the Chargers selected Eli Manning with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. Manning, though, never played a snap for the Chargers. He had made it clear that he did not want to play for the franchise, then based in San Diego, and was traded to the New York Giants for a package that included Philip Rivers.
One must wonder if Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is contemplating a similar power move in 2021 if the New York Jets get the No. 1 pick.
Archie Manning doesn’t know if Lawrence would do that, but he probably wouldn't recommend it.
“We know Trevor. We had Trevor [the] summer before last at the Manning Passing Academy as a counselor. Great young man and such a super player,” Manning said on The DA Show. “If Trevor’s family, or Trevor, wanted to talk about that, rather than me, [agent] Tom Condon would probably be a better guy to talk to because he represented Eli. That was kind of where that started.”
Sixteen years later, Manning, 71, seems to have mixed feelings about quarterback prospects forcing trades.
“I can’t say that’s necessarily the best thing to do,” Manning said. “It’s just what Eli chose to do. I’ve always said I think it worked out well. It worked out well for the Chargers. They had who I think was a Hall of Fame quarterback all those years in Philip [Rivers], and it worked out well for Eli and the Giants.”
Many fans and analysts assumed that Manning, who spent most of his career playing for a bad Saints team, advised his son to force the trade in 2004. That, Manning says, is not accurate.
“Everybody just assumed that,” Manning said, laughing. “Everybody just assumed that. A lot of media, mostly New York media, just put that out there. No one ever asked me, ‘Is it because you played for a bad team? Is that the reason Eli’s not going to the Chargers?’ That had nothing to do with it, and that’s not really the role as a father I wanted to [have]. I always wanted to support my kids. But I didn’t recommend that. It was something that, Tom actually was very familiar with the Chargers. [He] represented their quarterback, their best player, their wide receiver, their head coach, and it was just a lot of things that I think to him, and to Eli, that they made that decision. So it is what it is.”
Eli, who won two Super Bowl titles for the Giants, sought his father’s counsel on the matter, but ultimately it was his choice.
“I just told him it was bold,” Manning said. “I said it’s bold. John Elway had done it, too. It had happened before. I said it’s bold. I still think it was bold, but Eli chose to do it. Then it worked out where there was a trade, and it seemed like then everyone was happy. As I said before, I think it worked out well for the Chargers, and it worked out well for the Giants.”