Eli Manning's former teammates say Giants 'wasted' QB's prime talent

Eli Manning (Getty Images)

Eli Manning has had a storied career with the Giants, but a couple of his former teammates feel that his time with the team has been a bust.

Former center Shaun O’Hara said the Giants “wasted” opportunities to max Manning out in his prime, but said there is still hope for the quarterback.

“They’ve wasted the last few years of Eli’s career, they’ve wasted his prime,” O’Hara said at a charity function, via NJ.com. “It’s been hard to sit and watch that happen. I’m glad to see that they found a way to correct it, but Eli can still play the game.”

Defensive lineman Justin Tuck, who was with Manning during the team’s 2008 and 2012 Super Bowl wins, said O’Hara was right.

“I agree with him,” Tuck said. “We all know what Eli can do when he is healthy and when he has comparable athletes around him. I don’t think he had those. Anything other than that, you are just lying to yourself.”

Manning has been with the Giants since they drafted him in 2004, winning two Super Bowls, starting in all but 10 games and making 210 consecutive starts. However, the last six years saw the Giants fail to make the playoffs.

Manning, 37, will likely be retiring in the next couple years. Even though new coach Pat Shurmur and new GM Dave Gettleman have said they want to surround Manning with the best talent, his stats from the last few years have shown he’s not posting high numbers.

Last season, he threw 3,468 yards, 19 touchdowns with 13 interceptions and had a completion rating of 61.6 percent. Even so, O’Hara said Manning still has talent in him.

“I laugh at people that say Eli can’t play,” said O’Hara, who is an analyst for NFL Network. “I know he can play. I know he can throw the rock, and I know that he’s still got that fire. He just wants to get better. That’s what you love about him.”

Manning’s contract will run out after the 2019 season. At the moment, Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney are waiting in the wings for their chance to possibly take over for the veteran.