Less than seven months after Eli Manning led his New York Giants to their second Super Bowl victory in four years, and just weeks before the 2012 regular season is set to begin, the quarterback has announced he is stepping away from the game.
"I'd like to take this time to announce that, after finding a ring in the box of Fruit Loops I opened this morning, I will be retiring from the game of football," said a sleepy-eyed and footy pajama-clad Manning during a press conference held at MetLife Stadium. In addition to his agent, Eli's teddy bear, Brady, also joined him at the podium for support.
The prize, although not diamond encrusted, is reported to be equipped with both a whistle and glow-in-the-dark capabilities.
"Yeah, it's pretty neat," boasted Eli before shielding his mouth from the microphone and whispering to reporters that he'd let them try it out if they promised not to tell his brother Peyton—who he feared might take it as his own, as he did with the "big shiny one" given to him after Super Bowl XLII.
The eight-year veteran's wife, Abby—who is out of town tending to a family issue—was glaringly absent from her husband's announcement. Sources close to the situation say her going away is likely what led to Manning's decision. According to Abby's sister, Linda, Eli poured himself a bowl of cereal this morning instead of eating his normal pre-practice breakfast that his wife prepares for him: pancakes with chocolate smiley faces and whipped cream beards.
"I'm glad he knew enough not to try and use the stove on his own," said Linda. "Heck, I'm just glad he knew enough not to eat [the prize]."
Asked what she thought about her brother-in-law opting to end his career so early, she responded: "Oh, that doesn't bother me at all. I have a feeling Abby will talk him out of it once she returns home. I just hope for Eli's sake she's able to get their car back. I know he makes some great decisions out on the field, but trading a 2012 Corvette for its Hot Wheels' equivalent is inexcusable."