Eli Manning on returning in 2020 to back up Daniel Jones for the Giants: 'I doubt it. I can still play'

You can probably count Eli Manning out for the new-look New York Giants in 2020. The two-time Super Bowl winner was benched in September to make way for rookie first-round pick Daniel Jones, who impressed initially before suffering a slew of growing pains over the remainder of the season. 

Manning was reinserted as starter in late December because of an injury to Jones, and went 1-1 over the two-game stretch, dipping below the .500 mark for his career with a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles before climbing back to the mark by defeating the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. The victory might've marked the last he'll ever attempt to land for the Giants, with all signs pointing to a divorce coming in 2020. While Manning has not yet made a decision on if he'll retire, it's clear his mind is already made up when it comes to returning to play second fiddle to Jones.

When asked if that was a possibility, Manning -- an unrestricted free agent in 2020 -- smirked and answered accordingly.

"I doubt it, I doubt it," Manning told media on Monday, via SNY TV. "Backing up's not real fun."

His reply hints at a possibility of the 38-year-old seeking a new NFL home next season, but only if he's charged with being the starter for another club.

"No, I haven't [made a decision on retirement]," he said. "I'm gonna think about it and I'm gonna just dwell on it, talk to my family and figure out what's best for me and us, and what I want to do going forward."

The decision will likely come quickly, though. 

"I don't want to linger around," Manning said. "I'm going try to make it as soon as possible, so I'll think upon it a bunch over these next days and weeks and try to figure out what I want to do."

There's expected to be quite a bit of movement in the NFL quarterback ranks, opening the door for someone to reach out to Manning to decide if he's a good fit. Nothing in his tone over the course of the season has painted the image of a player ready to retire, but instead one who believes he still has enough fuel in his tank to lead a team.

Even with Pat Shurmur now fired, Manning's 16-year marriage with the Giants, as long as Jones remains healthy, Manning will never again get that chance in New York. He's long come to terms with that reality, and is now looking forward to other pastures -- hoping to not find himself put out to one before he's ready.

"I think I can still play," he said.

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