There are only two great mysteries in life: 1. Why is the Earth not flat? and 2. Why did Eli Manning refuse to play for the Los Angeles Chargers when they selected him first overall in the 2004 NFL Draft?
It’s been 17 years since that fateful day, but Manning has largely kept mum about it. Until now. In an interview with the 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt podcast, the New York Giants legend finally broke his silence on not wanting to play for the Chargers, who were still located in San Diego at that time.
“It was my decision having talked with my agent, coaches, GMs, and owners. Going through the draft process, I was just worried about the Chargers organization at the time. I felt it was the right decision and I had a little pull. I quietly tried to say ‘Hey, please don’t draft me, it can be our secret,’ and they didn’t keep the secret part very well.”
Many believed Manning was worried about getting playing time with the Chargers, especially with some quarterback named Drew Brees running things at that time. He was eventually shipped to the Giants, where he played his entire career until 2019.
Rumors were also ripe that it was his father, Arthur Manning, who told him to hold out. But the two-time Super Bowl MVP finally cleared the assumptions.
Well, not so much of a mystery now.