Tiki Barber, Tom Coughlin, ex-players support Eli Manning after Giants bench him

On Tuesday, the Giants shockingly announced they're benching Eli Manning for Geno Smith on Sunday, which will definitely end Manning's consecutive starts streak at 210 and could possibly spell the end of his incredibly successful Giants career. It didn't take long for the backlash to arrive.

Not long after the Giants made their plans public, several ex-members of the organization came out to defend Manning and rip the team for its decision. The list of detractors include many men who worked closely with Manning, including former running back Tiki Barber, former coach Tom Coughlin, former defensive lineman Justin Tuck, former running back Brandon Jacobs, former receiver Plaxico Burress, and so on. 

Let's start with CBS' Tiki Barber. You can watch him address the situation in the video above. Below, is a snippet of what he had to say.

"Just the way that this is going down is very disheartening from Giants fan's perspective and as a former teammate of his, and all the great things he achieved in his career," he said. "You don't want to see it end like this. It's disappointing. I feel like it's premature."

Barber added that he feels like Manning is getting "scapegoated" and that he believes Manning will be playing elsewhere next season.

Coughlin told 1010 AM in Jacksonville that he was "very upset."

"Surprised is not the word," he said, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. "My sentiments are totally with Eli Manning. ... He's a class act, a two-time Super Bowl champ, one of the finest, most humble men in that locker room. ... I was very upset about when I heard that."

Tuck called it one of the stupidest decisions in pro sports he has ever seen.

Others -- including many former members of the organization -- weighed in. Warning: NSFW language in the tweets below:

On his part, Manning accepted his demotion gracefully. He was given the opportunity to start and continue his streak, but declined the chance to start for the sake of extending his streak.

"Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play," Manning said, per the team website. "My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them. Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won't finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak. Like I always have, I will be ready to play if and when I am needed. I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can."

When Manning met with reporters, he was very clearly emotional and appeared to fight back tears.

Manning is under contract through the 2019 season, so he could always be back in New York next year. Or the Giants could decide to part ways with a quarterback who'll be 37 years old when next season begins. If that happens, Manning will likely have suitors -- like Coughlin's Jaguars, who desperately need a quarterback.

If this is the end of Manning's Giants career, he'll be remembered for his two iconic Super Bowl plays, both of which lifted the Giants over the Patriots.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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