Eli Manning content with retirement, 'got out at the right time'

Playing football is in the past for former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

There will be no Brett Favre-like unretirements.

He's enjoying life as a Giants fan for the first time, with no itch to get back on the field.

Manning, 39, has only thrown the football once since the end of his 16th and final professional season, and that was at the request of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

"I had my run," Manning said last week in an interview with ESPN. "Had an unbelievable career, whether it be from high school to college football and the NFL. I don't have regrets. I got out at the right time. I'm kind of just at peace with it.

"I haven't picked up a football. I think it's harder for people when they retire to kind of get retired. They still want to play and nobody wants them to play. They're still working out and still hopeful. Mine is, I'm done and I've now thrown a football one time after Dec. 29 or whenever that last game was."

Instead, Manning is watching games on the couch with his daughters. He's working with various companies on different projects while getting his competitive fill from tennis and golf.

This past weekend, Manning hosted a Homegate -- a virtual tailgate -- in collaboration with Frank's RedHot. It was essentially a variety show alongside his friend and former teammate, Shaun O'Hara, and Proxy, a man who walked around with a tablet attached to his face so Manning could Zoom chat with fans.

This is what post-playing life looks like at the moment for the two-time Super Bowl MVP. Family, football -- at least watching it on TV -- and plenty of time to play. He even added Twitter to his repertoire.

"New Eli," Manning said of his giving in to social media earlier this year. "Still kind of figuring it out. Right when I got involved it was all exciting. Kind of tweeting out things. Then the summer kind of came around and I was running around with the kiddos, kind of busy. Didn't do it as much. Now in the fall with football and different things, [I] kind of stay up to speed with what is going on and send some creative tweets.

"Still trying to feel the whole thing out and getting my Twitter sense of humor up to speed."

This is Manning's plan at the moment: Take time this fall to try new things and assess his options. He'll make his next move from there.

There's plenty of interest. The Frank's Homegate drew more than 563,000 fans via Zoom and a Twitter livestream. Fans flooded to ask him questions and interact with the greatest quarterback in Giants history.

Manning is still keeping an eye on his former team, although he says he isn't jumping up and down while yelling at the television. At least not yet. He admitted it's different watching, considering it's the first time he has been a Giants fan rather than a player. And when he has watched, he still views the game more from a quarterback's perspective.

That means looking at things through the eyes of Giants starter Daniel Jones. Manning and Jones spent all of last season together in the same quarterbacks room and have developed a healthy relationship that remains sturdy.

"I sent him a text kind of a week before the season just saying, 'Hey, I'm rooting for you,'" Manning said. "I want to be a resource for him if he needs anything, but I'm not going to try to be overly involved in anything as well. There is a little bit of trying to feel it out for yourself and just learning your style, whether it's as a leader, quarterback or New York.

"Everything is different this year with the restrictions going on. [I] definitely stay in touch with him and send him texts of encouragement and let him know I'm rooting for him."

Manning said this spring and summer he advised Jones on how to navigate some of the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. There is a natural big brother-little brother relationship there.

Jones said he tries to remain in touch fairly regularly. After all, Manning is a valuable resource at his disposal.

"He’s a guy I can talk to and ask questions. He’s been extremely helpful in that regard," Jones said. "It’s someone that I have a good relationship with. He’s certainly offered his help and it’s something I’ve used, and it’s certainly appreciated."

Out of the game, away from the locker room, this is Manning's only contribution to the Giants. He's in full-blown retirement mode.