Eli Manning on why he didn't want to play for Chargers: 'I forgot, I think'

This is not the face of a man happy to be drafted first overall. (USATSI)
It's been nearly a decade since the Chargers drafted Eli Manning first overall, a development that led to the awkward photo above because Manning and his family made it clear in the days leading up to the draft that he wouldn't play in San Diego. The Chargers took Manning anyway, and a few hours later, shipped the quarterback to the Giants where he went on to win two Super Bowls.

On Sunday, the Giants and Chargers meet in a Week 14 game that could have playoff implications. On Tuesday, Manning spoke with reporters about his aversion to playing in San Diego.

"I forgot, I think," Manning said, presumably while stifling a laugh. "I just can't remember; it's been 10 years. It slipped my mind."

A reporter then asked about a rumor that Manning wouldn't even put on a Chargers hat after he was drafted.

"Did I put the hat on?" Manning asked. "No? I didn't put the hat on."

(The photo above confirms as much.)

And Manning has a perfectly legitimate reason for not donning a Chargers hat (other than the obvious reason that, you know, he didn't want to play for the Chargers): "I just, my hair was feeling good that day," he said. "I didn't want to mess it up."

Good news, though: Other than the football team, Manning's a huge fan of the area.

"I have nothing against San Diego as a city," he said. "We had our rookie symposium there and besides that, we've had a few other things, I know it's a beautiful city and great weather. There's a lot of great things to it."

* via the Newark Star-Ledger

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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