Nov. 28 (UPI) — Healthy two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning is being sent to the New York Giants‘ bench in favor of Geno Smith.
Giants coach Ben McAdoo announced the decision Tuesday.
Manning has started 210 consecutive regular season games, a streak that will end on Sunday when the Giants face the Oakland Raiders. Manning’s streak began on Nov. 21, 2004. It is the second-longest in NFL history, trailing only Brett Favre (297 consecutive starts).
McAdoo said the team will also give rookie Davis Webb snaps while Manning is benched.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” Manning said Tuesday, according to Giants.com.
“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.”
Manning, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, completed 13-of-27 passes for 113 yards and an interception in the Giants’ Week 12 loss to the Washington Redskins. He has completed 62.5 percent of his throws for 2,411 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 starts this season, posting a 2-9 record.
Just last season, Manning completed 63 percent of his throws for 4,027 yards, 26 scores and 16 interceptions, while posting an 11-5 record.
“This is not the way it should be, but unfortunately, it’s where we are,” McAdoo told reporters. “Our number one priority every week is to go win a game, but we owe it to the organization to get an evaluation of everybody on the roster, and that includes at the quarterback position. I’ll say it again, I have the utmost respect for Eli and everything he has done for this organization throughout his career. He is the consummate professional. He doesn’t like the position we are in, and neither do any of us. Eli has had to deal with a lot this season. Through it all, he has done everything we have asked of him in getting that unit ready to play. He has been steady, just like he has always been.”
“This is not a statement about anything other than we are 2-9, and we have to do what is best for the organization moving forward, and that means evaluating every position,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “I told Eli this morning that an organization could not ask for any more in a franchise quarterback. He has been that and more. Nobody knows what the future holds, but right now, this is what we think is best for the franchise.”
Manning, 37, signed a five-year, $101.5 million contract in 2015. He made $13 million this season and is due $10.5 million in 2018, with a $5 million roster bonus. Smith signed with the Giants on March 20 as a free agent. He spent the first four years of his career with the New York Jets. He completed 4-of-8 passes for 95 yards in his last start on Oct. 23, 2016. He left that game with a torn ACL. Webb was a third-round pick by the Giants in the 2016 NFL Draft.