AN­GRY ELI SAYS HE’S IN­NO­CENT IN FRAUD SCANDAL

GM mulls tak­ing QB, not so high on Geno

New York Daily News - - SPORTS - BY SETH WALDER

Jerry Reese may be look­ing for Eli Man­ning’s suc­ces­sor, but not be­cause he thinks his vet­eran quar­ter­back’s re­tire­ment is right around the cor­ner.

“We think that Eli has some good years left to play for us,” Reese said Thurs­day at the Giants fa­cil­ity in New Jersey.

How­ever, the gen­eral man­ager ad­mit­ted he has prob­a­bly looked at col­lege quar­ter­backs this year more than oth­ers and wouldn’t rule out draft­ing a quar­ter­back in the first round.

“We’ll keep all our op­tions open,” Reese said.

“Who knows what’ll hap­pen guys,” Reese said. “If you draft a quar­ter­back in the first round (or) you draft him in the sec­ond round, if Eli gets hurt...if you have a quar­ter­back on the ros­ter you have to get him ready to play. That’s the coach’s job to do that, and it’s our job to have some­body wait­ing in the wings to play. You just never know.”

Four years ago, Reese drafted Ryan Nas­sib and said he hoped the for­mer Syra­cuse quar­ter­back never played (and, in­deed, Nas­sib never made a start for the Giants). Now Reese is in a little bit of a dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion, but stressed the team can’t overly fo­cus on the timetable to the field when con­sid­er­ing draft­ing a QB.

“In the draft you take the best player avail­able. How­ever he fits on the ros­ter,” the gen­eral man­ager said. “You take a quar­ter­back high, you take him in the sev­enth round, wher­ever you take him, you hope ev­ery­thing falls right for them. If they have to play, you hope it’s right for them to play. If you’re wor­ried about when is he go­ing to play, when’s he not go­ing to play, you might miss out on the right player.”

Man­ning, 36, is com­ing off of a down year but one in which he got his team to the post­sea­son. The vet­eran quar­ter­back rec­og­nized his own short­com­ings on the field last sea­son.

“I know I’ve got to play bet­ter, I’ve got to com­plete more passes, throw more touch­downs, throw (fewer) in­ter­cep­tions, and I’m gonna work to do that,” Man­ning said.

“We are try­ing to put good peo­ple around him as well and hope­fully the of­fense can pick up the pace more than last year,” Reese added.

When asked if Geno Smith is a con­tender to even­tu­ally take the quar­ter­back reins from Man­ning, Reese sounded less en­thu­si­as­tic about the idea than Ben McAdoo did last month at the league meet­ings.

“Well, Geno is on the ros­ter and is go­ing to have a fair share to com­pete just like ev­ery­one else,” Reese said. “He is ex­cited about be­ing here and we are ex­cited to have him and he is go­ing to come in and com­pete just like ev­ery­body else, so we will see where that goes.”

AP

An emo­tional and im­pas­sioned Eli Man­ning ad­dresses re­porters about al­le­ga­tions sur­round­ing a mem­o­ra­bilia fraud law­suit, but the Gi­ant QB sounds sin­cere in his de­nial Thurs­day.

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