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Giants announce Eli Manning's reinstatement as starting quarterback

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Max says there's a chance Eli stays with Giants (1:44)

Max Kellerman explores what the firing of Ben McAdoo means for Eli Manning. (1:44)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eli Manning is officially back as the New York Giants' starting quarterback.

Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo announced the decision Wednesday after the Giants practiced for the first time since the firing of coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese.

"Eli Manning will be the quarterback for this football team and this game," Spagnuolo said.

Manning took the first-team snaps at Wednesday's practice and will start against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Geno Smith is expected to return in a backup role while rookie Davis Webb remains the third-stringer.

"I'm excited," said Manning, one week after he was heartbroken by how everything unfolded. "I'm excited about the opportunity to play this week, to get back on the field with teammates and go get to play the Dallas Cowboys. Played these guys a bunch. Look forward to going out there in our home stadium and getting a win."

Manning started the first 11 games of the season before Smith took over Sunday for a 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The decision to go back to Manning was ultimately made by Spagnuolo, but it was discussed with co-owner John Mara when he was named the interim coach.

"What you have to understand is that when I was coaching just the defense, I have the blinders on and all I'm worried about is just the defense. I stay in my lane," Spagnuolo said. "So I didn't have my eyes around what was going on on offense, who was playing, none of that. So I took my gut and visited with the offensive coaches, and together with that and my gut Eli Manning is going to be our quarterback."

Spagnuolo said Smith was not happy but that he was professional about the quarterback change when they discussed it. Smith started in Sunday's loss and did nothing to forfeit the opportunity to start this week, McAdoo said after the game. He completed 21 of 34 passes for 212 yards with one touchdown and two fumbles and seemed to improve as the game progressed.

But when McAdoo was fired, it became apparent that the Giants would turn back to Manning with Spagnuolo as the coach and Mike Sullivan as the offensive coordinator. Sullivan used to be Manning's quarterbacks coach and admitted last week that the situation was "frustrating." Spagnuolo had called it "tough."

If Smith had started at home in place of Manning, it would have likely been met with a negative reaction from fans, something Mara said the team was "cognizant" of earlier in the week. Mara insisted the handling of the Manning benching had no effect on the firing of McAdoo and Reese.

There had been talk of former players coming to Sunday's game and standing on the sideline in No. 10 Manning jerseys in a show of solidarity. Former Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz said Tuesday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York that he would be attending Sunday's game in a No. 10 jersey, although the plan has seemed to fizzle out with Manning having been reinserted into the lineup.

McAdoo also made a public statement for the first time since his firing.

"It was a privilege and an honor to serve as the head coach of the New York Giants and be a member of the organization for four years," McAdoo said. "I thank the Mara family, the Tisch family, and Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin for taking a chance on a first time offensive coordinator and enabling me to to take an important step in my career."

Manning had his streak of 210 consecutive starts end last week. Smith was the first Giants quarterback to start a game besides Manning since Kurt Warner in 2004.

After Spagnuolo was named interim coach, he spoke with Manning, who reiterated his desire to start.

"I just want him to know that I do want to play," Manning said. "I want to be the starting quarterback. I want to be out there, and just wanted to make sure he knew that. So he said that he was going to think about it and talk with the coaches, but his gut said I would be the starting quarterback. So happy he went with that decision and he has the faith in me to go win this football game with me as the quarterback."

Manning has completed 63 percent of his passes this season for 2,411 yards. He has 14 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions in 11 games.