The rumor was Manning didn’t want to play for the Chargers. And for his entire 17-year career, the two-time Super Bowl champion never explained why he didn’t want to play in San Diego. However, during a recent interview on the “10 Questions with Kyle Brandt” podcast, Manning finally publicly spoke about why he didn’t want to play for the Chargers.
“It was my decision having talked with my agent, coaches, [general managers] and owners,” Manning said via CBSSports.com. “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.”
Manning has had previous opportunities to explain why he didn’t want to play for the Chargers. Back in 2013 before the Giants took on the Chargers in San Diego, Manning was asked why he didn’t want to play for the team and his response was, “I forgot.”
Many people believed Eli’s father, Archie, had an influence on him and where he was going to play. However, Eli says that was far from the truth.
“It wasn’t my Dad. He was trying to take the heat off of me, he knew I was going to get criticized,” Eli Manning said on the podcast. “After that, the Chargers turned it around, they got Shawne Merriman, then Drew Brees started playing great, then Philip (Rivers) started playing great, they went to AFC Championship games, they’re making playoffs and turned things around.”
Manning was drafted by the Chargers but was traded to the Giants one hour later. In return, the Chargers received Philip Rivers, a 2004 third-round pick (that turned into kicker Nate Kaeding), a 2005 first-round pick (used on linebacker Shawne Merriman), and a 2005 fifth-round pick.