Derek Jeter's advice to Eli Manning: 'Don't read the papers, stay positive'
As Derek Jeter prepares for life after the Yankees, he has some parting words of advice for his New York football counterpart, Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Derek Jeter's two-decades long Major League Baseball career is headed down the home stretch. And as he prepares for life after the Yankees, he has some parting words of advice for his New York football counterpart, Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who despite two Super Bowl rings, is regularly criticized for his role in the team's underwhelming performances in recent years.
"Don't read the papers, don't listen to it," Jeter said, via NFL.com's Kimberly Jones. "That's the bottom line. Stay positive. That's the only way you can deal with it. It's tough. It's tough to avoid it because you're constantly asked questions about it. So you know the angle, you know what's being written. But you've got to stay positive, regardless."
Jeter sounds like he's reading from one of those "Good thoughts for the day!" calendars, which isn't surprising for anyone who has watched him over the years. Off the field, Jeter is boring by design. The strategy has served him well; his squeaky-clean image has survived 20 years in the nation's toughest media market. In fact, the worst thing you can say about him is that maybe we're heaping too much praise on him as he leaves the game. A-Rod should be so lucky.
Jeter also reminds fans, who are by nature an impatient bunch, that winning championships isn't easy.
"You have to realize, it's not easy," he said. "At times, certain guys make things look easy. Even when it looks easy, it doesn't come easy. There's a lot of work behind (winning it all). Hey, it's sports, but like anything in life, you're going to have good years, you're going to have bad years.
"But you want to be consistent. Your personality needs to be consistent, your work ethic needs to be consistent. Everything you do needs to remain consistent. What's the saying -- tough times don't last, tough people do? I think you can look at the history of professional athletes, and they've all had tough periods."
Manning has been nothing if not (maddeningly) consistent. He has completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes in six of his 10 full NFL seasons and has thrown at least 15 interceptions on seven occasions.
Jeter and Manning first connected back in 2004, Manning's rookie season, when the Yankees shortstop called him unsolicited the night before a game.
"He said, 'Keep grinding, keep working hard, keep your head up and things will get easier,' " Eli told Jones recently. "It meant a lot to me at the time. I was trying to figure things out. I was trying to learn to play quarterback in New York, with the New York media and everything that goes along with being an athlete in this area.
"Obviously I knew who Derek Jeter was, and he was playing great and winning championships and seemed to have everything going for him. I appreciated him just reaching out to me. Maybe (it was because he) knew what it was like as a rookie."
When Jeter hangs it up, Manning will become the longest-tenured professional athlete in New York, but he doesn't see it that way.
"I think we're losing a superstar in Derek Jeter, a guy who's been so good for so long and won championships and been a class act," he said. "He's been the face of the New York Yankees. We'll miss him. You can't replace him, and that's not my job. My job is to try to win games for the Giants and learn from the things Derek's done well and the way he's conducted himself. And he'll always be a role model for me."
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