Giants QB Eli Manning announces retirement; should he make Hall of Fame?

Giants QB Eli Manning announces retirement; should he make Hall of Fame?

The end of an era for the New York Giants has arrived.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning announced his retirement Friday.

"For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field," Giants CEO John Mara said in a story on the team website. "Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise's history. He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability. It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us. We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organization and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honor in the near future."

Manning was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2004 but never played a game for them. He was traded to the New York Giants in a deal that sent Phillip Rivers to the Chargers.

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Manning's best NFL moments came against the Patriots. He won MVP of Super Bowl LII after leading the Giants on a go-ahead touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter that ended New England's perfect season. Manning got the best of Tom Brady again in 2011 when the Giants beat the Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI. He won MVP of that game, too.

Retirement makes sense for Manning for several reasons. One is that he's no longer a quality starting QB, and another is Daniel Jones -- New York's first-round draft pick in 2019 -- has taken over the starting job for the Giants.

The real question now and a few years into the future revolves around Manning's case for the Hall of Fame.

This debate already has sparked intense discussion on both sides. Beating Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl twice certainly bolsters his case, but he also has some of the stats needed to get in. He ranks seventh all-time in both career passing yards and passing touchdowns. Every retired quarterback with 50,000-plus yards or 300-plus touchdowns is in the Hall of Fame, so it's hard to see Manning not getting in at some point. Playing for a large market team that's also one of the league's iconic franchises should help him as well.

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Patriots' Jonathan Jones clarifies tweet about COVID-19 and NFL season

Patriots' Jonathan Jones clarifies tweet about COVID-19 and NFL season

About three weeks ago, New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones pointed out in a tweet that you "can't social distance football," seemingly voicing his concern about playing the 2020 NFL season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two Patriots players who responded to Jones' tweet -- linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung -- both have opted out of the season. Will Jones follow suit before Thursday's 4 p.m. ET opt-out deadline?

The Patriots cornerback didn't seem ready to jump ship Wednesday, explaining in a video conference that his tweet was more a reference to somewhat fruitless NFL safety protocols like eliminating jersey swaps after games.

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"When I tweeted that, it was more (about) some of the protocols they started enforcing like the jersey swap and things like that," Jones said. " ... As far as being in the facility and being in meetings, they've gone to great lengths to make sure that we're safe in those regards.

"Referring to my tweet, it was more, when you're out there on the field and you're (playing), there's no social distancing in that. So, trying to eliminate jersey swapping and things like that, I kind of saw no point to that."

Jones is right: NFL players collide with each other on every play, so preventing players from fraternizing after games hardly would limit the spread of COVID-19 any more than calling off the games themselves.

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Concerns about safety have led more than 50 players to opt out of the season, to the point where the NFL moved the opt-out deadline up to this Thursday. Patriots safety Devin McCourty saw the league's move as a nefarious tactic to pressure players into making an important life decision, but Jones was a bit more diplomatic.

"We were able to come in and see the facility for a few days," Jones said when asked if he felt the NFL gave him enough time to make a decision about playing.

"I know a lot of guys don't like that they kind of went back on the agreement. That's kind of tough. But as far as just coming in and getting to see how things are working, at least for now, the step that we're in, we got to see the facility and see how things operate on a daily basis."

So, that means the 26-year-old cornerback plans to play this season ... right?

"I'm here ready to go to work every day," Jones replied when asked directly whether he plans to opt out. "Just show up ready to go to work." 

NFL opt-outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL opt-outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL training camps officially began Tuesday, but there were some notable absences.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season last Friday, citing health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, multiple players have followed suit, continuing a trend across all major North American professional sports of players declining to participate in their seasons as COVID-19 persists in the United States.

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The Patriots especially have felt the impact of this trend: Six New England players -- including star linebacker Dont'a Hightower -- already have opted out, the most of any NFL team.

Below is a running list of the players who have opted out of the 2020 NFL season, according to reports or team/player confirmations. The list is sorted alphabetically after the Patriots, with the date of the players' opt-outs in parentheses.

New England Patriots

RB Brandon Bolden (July 28)
OT Marcus Cannon (July 28)
S Patrick Chung (July 28)
LB Dont'a Hightower (July 28)
WR Marqise Lee (August 1)
OG Najee Toran (July 27)
FB Danny Vitale (July 27)
TE Matt LaCosse (August 2)

Arizona Cardinals

OT Marcus Gilbert (August 4)

Baltimore Ravens

OT Andre Smith (July 28)
WR/KR De'Anthony Thomas (July 27)

Buffalo Bills

CB E.J. Gaines (August 2)
DT Star Lotulelei (July 28)

Carolina Panthers

LB Jordan Mack (July 28)
LB Christian Miller (August 3)

Chicago Bears

DT Eddie Goldman (July 28)
S Jordan Lucas (August 3)

Cincinnati Bengals

OT Isaiah Prince (July 31)
DT Josh Tupou (July 31)

Cleveland Browns

DT Andrew Billings (August 4)
OL Drake Dorbeck (July 29)
OL Drew Forbes (July 29)
OL Colby Gossett (August 4)

Dallas Cowboys

CB Maurice Canady (July 27)
WR Stephen Guidry (July 28)
FB Jamize Olawale (August 2)

Denver Broncos

OT JaWuan James (August 3)
DT Kyle Peko (July 28)

Detroit Lions

DT John Atkins (July 29)
WR Geronimo Allison (August 2)

Green Bay Packers

WR Devin Funchess (July 28)

Houston Texans

DT Eddie Vanderdoes (July 28)

Indianapolis Colts

DB Rolan Milligan (August 5) 
LB Skai Moore (August 4)
DB Marvell Tell (August 5)

Jacksonville Jaguars

EDGE Larentee McCray (August 1)
DL Al Woods (July 31)

Kansas City Chiefs

OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (July 24)
RB Damien Williams (July 29)

Las Vegas Raiders

LB Ukeme Eligwe (August 4)
CB D.J. Killings (August 3)
DE Jeremiah Valoaga (August 3)

Los Angeles Rams

OT Chandler Brewer (July 31)

Miami Dolphins

WR Allen Hurns (August 4)
WR Albert Wilson (August 5)

Minnesota Vikings

NT Michael Pierce (July 28)

New Orleans Saints

TE Jason Vander Laan (July 28)
TE Cole Wick (July 28)

New York Giants

WR Da'Mari Scott (August 2)
LT Nate Solder (July 29)

New York Jets

OL Leo Koloamatangi (July 28)
LB CJ Mosley (August 1)

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Marquise Goodwin (July 28)

San Francisco 49ers

WR Travis Benjamin (August 4)

Seattle Seahawks

OG Chance Warmack (July 27)

Tennessee Titans

OL Anthony McKinney (July 28)

Washington Football Team

DT Caleb Brantley (July 27)
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (August 3)

Free Agents

G Larry Warford (July 28)