NEW YORK--Fresh off a 31-7 drubbing at the hands of the lowly Washington Redskins, Giants quarterback Eli Manning has demanded a trade to the San Diego Chargers. The demand was issued through his agent, Tom Condon, who said that Manning would rather play for a contender than a team in disarray like the Giants. Condon expressed confidence that a deal could be worked out.

“Eli has told me time and time again that he wants to win in this league,” Condon told reporters during a conference call. “In order to win an organization must have talent, good coaching, and an effective front office. We feel that the San Diego Chargers have the foundation to be a winning team for years to come. They’re a model organization. The Giants are, to put it kindly, a franchise in transition. This is not a good place for a young quarterback. We’re looking for someplace more stable, like San Diego.”

Condon did not say what his client would do if the Giants did not comply with his trade demand. He simply expressed hope that GM Ernie Accorsi would honor Eli’s strong desire to be part of a successful and “sturdy” franchise.

“When you think of sturdy, rock-solid organizations, the Chargers would be at the top of that list,” said Condon. “They have a running back in LaDanian Tomlinson that’s one of the best in the game. They’ve got a superb tight end in Antonio Gates, an underrated defensive unit, and a proven winner in coach Schottenheimer. The Giants just aren’t the right team for Eli. Nothing against the organization or the city, but my client deserves better. He’s way too good for New York.”

Though Eli has not commented publicly about the matter, his father, Archie Manning, has spoken to the media in an effort to clear the air. He said that the decision to ask for a trade was made after a lengthy discussion with Condon and the entire Manning family.

“There are a lot of factors involved here. This wasn’t about just one thing,” Manning told ESPN’s Dan Patrick. “The Giants situation has been unsettled for quite some time now. We’re just looking to put Eli into a situation where he can have a chance to succeed. I think that’s all any player can ask for. I certainly don’t want to put the Giants in a bad light here. We appreciate all they’ve done for Eli. But you only get one chance to have a professional football career, and my son wants his to be in San Diego. Did you know they have the best weather in America?”

Manning acknowledged that his son would be criticized for his decision to ask for a trade but said the decision was final.

“We’re just not going to accept playing for the New York Giants,” said Manning. “It’s as simple as that. I’m sorry about having to ask for this trade. I talked to Ernie [Accorsi] and told him that I hate this. I really hate this. I think it makes my family look bad and it makes the league look bad. But I’ve spoken to a lot of people in the league about this and the consensus is that it’s the right decision. And people in the league are never wrong about anything.”

The Giants started the year off with a 4-1 record but have lost four in a row, and their chances of making the postseason have dwindled. Kurt Warner was throwing the ball well but could not avoid the pressure caused by aggressive defenses and a patchwork offensive line. Tom Coughlin is a controversial coach that the players may turn against if the team bottoms out. By contrast, the San Diego Chargers are one of the most exciting teams in the league. Quarterback Drew Brees, left for dead on the team’s bench last season, is having a career year but is also a free agent at the end of the season. Condon’s plan is to have Manning replace Brees, taking snaps from behind the Bolts’stalwart offensive line.

“Clearly the Chargers are a brilliant franchise on the cutting edge of the NFL,” said Condon. “A talent like Eli Manning deserves a team that is solid from top to bottom and has an unwavering commitment to excellence. Also, Eli enjoys the west coast lifestyle. He’s one of those laid back, easy going California dudes. He really dislikes all that media attention in New York.”

Some critics have pointed out the fact that Manning spurned the Chargers during the 2004 draft and demanded to be sent to the Giants. The irony of the situation is not lost on Archie, who tried to explain the family’s sudden change of heart.

“I know what people are saying about my family. They’re talking about how we had our chance to go to San Diego last year but refused,” he said. “That’s not fair, really. The Giants looked like the better club to us and to everybody we talked to. Even Phillip Rivers didn’t want to play for the Chargers. Lucky for him, he got his wish.”

Eli Manning Demands Trade To San Diego Chargers
December 7th , 2004- Volume 1 Issue 78