Ernie Accorsi Suggests He'd Hate To See Eli Manning Finish Career Elsewhere

By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

The man who brought Eli Manning to New York indicated Tuesday he'd prefer to see the quarterback retire with the Giants.

Talking to WFAN's Maggie Gray and Marc Malusis, former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi recalled working for the Baltimore Colts when Johnny Unitas was traded to the San Diego Chargers in 1973. 

"It broke my heart to see John Unitas in a San Diego Charger uniform," Accorsi said after being asked about Manning's future.

Manning, who turns 39 next month, will be a free agent after this season, and the Giants have moved on to Daniel Jones. Manning hasn't said publicly what he plans to do, but ESPN reported last week that the two-time Super Bowl MVP will seek a starting job in 2020.

Accorsi, who acquired Manning in a draft day trade with the Chargers in 2004 for Philip Rivers, said he doesn't know what Manning's plans are, but the former GM indicated he wouldn't be surprised if the quarterback was at least tempted to continue his career.

"The one thing ... about these guys that are able to be successful at the highest level, particularly a quarterback in football, is that whole makeup that they have," said Accorsi, who was brought to tears by the farewell for Manning on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. "Sure, they have talent, and sure, they have ability, but that makeup that is the difference maker between the good ones and the great ones that win championships, all that, that doesn't go away because Father Time catches up with you. You still have that, and you still do believe that."

Giants quarterback Eli Manning passes the ball against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field Dec 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PABill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, the Giants (3-11 this season) could be looking for a new head coach soon, too, as Pat Shurmur is on the hot seat.

Accorsi said the notion that an offensive-minded coach must be hired to groom a young QB is off-base. 

"First of all, (John) Madden was a defensive coach," he said. "(Chuck) Noll was a defensive coach. Parcells, Belichick. There were just as many defensive coaches who've been successful with young quarterbacks as offensive coaches. I mean, you have to know offense because you're defending offense. Secondly, these guys are football coaches, and they know how to handle the quarterback. The most important element is leadership and feel and the ability to gain the confidence of your players."

To listen to the interview with Accorsi, click on the audio player above.