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Emotional Eli Manning says goodbye to NFL; Giants to retire No. 10

Former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a 117-117 regular season record and 8-4 record in the playoffs during his decorated NFL career.  Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a 117-117 regular season record and 8-4 record in the playoffs during his decorated NFL career.  Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Eli Manning held back tears and said he doesn't have any regrets during his time with the New York Giants as he gave a speech announcing his retirement Friday in East Rutherford, N.J.

Manning, 39, is stepping away from the game after spending his entire 16-year career with the Giants. The four-time Pro Bowl selection won two Super Bowls and was a two-time Super Bowl MVP. He most notably led the Giants to a win against the previously undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII in 2008.

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"From the very first moment, I did it my way," Manning said. "I couldn't be someone other than who I am. Undoubtedly, I would have made the fans, the media and even the front office more comfortable if I was a more rah-rah guy, but that's not me. Ultimately, I choose to believe that my teammates and fans learned to appreciate that. They knew what they got was pure, unadulterated Eli.

"I don't have any regrets, and I won't look in a rear-view mirror."

Manning's 236 regular-season appearances and 248 total games are Giants records. He finished his career ranked sixth in passing attempts in the NFL and seventh in completions, yards and touchdown passes.

An outpouring of support surfaced on social media after Manning's speech, including praise from former teammates, current teammates and fellow NFL players.

"Eli Manning leaves an indelible imprint on the New York Giants, their fans, and the NFL," commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "His passion for the game, intense preparation and ability to rise to the occasion were the hallmarks of his career.

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"Eli holds a special place in history, not just for hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and being named Super Bowl MVP twice, but for how he transcended the game with the way he carried himself around teammates, media, and -- most importantly -- fans."

Manning was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. He was traded from the San Diego Chargers to the Giants on draft day. Manning started 210 consecutive regular season games from 2004 through 2017, the second-longest streak of all time, trailing only Brett Favre.

He completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 1,042 yards, six scores and five interceptions in four starts for the Giants in 2019, while splitting time with rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. Manning ended his career with a 117-117 regular season record. He posted an 8-4 record in the postseason.

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"Congratulations on your retirement, and a great career Eli! Not going to lie though, I wish you hadn't won any Super Bowls," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tweeted, referencing his losses to Manning in two Super Bowls.

Manning won Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2018. The award recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field. Each team nominates a player who has had a significant positive impact on his community.

"Congrats Eli on your retirement," former teammate Justin Tuck wrote on Instagram. "16 years of constant performance, reliability, humility and passion to make those people around you better. My hat is off to you. I know how hard it is to show up everyday in the good and bad and be looked upon to lead and you did it better than anyone I've seen.

"You deserve all the praise coming your way and more. You embodied everything that's good about this sport and will be remembered as one of the best to do it on and off the field."

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The Giants announced at the start of Manning's news conference that they plan to induct Manning into the Giants Ring of Honor. Giants owner John Mara also said no Giants player will wear No. 10 again.

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