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Chargers eager to greet Manning

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.sdboltreport.com" target="_blank">SD Bolt Report</a>

    By Jay Paris

    SAN DIEGO – Eli's coming – finally. Quarterback Eli Manning and the New York Giants roll into Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, and yes, the place will be rocking. Especially with an evening kickoff that will guarantee a high-spirited gathering.

    "They might be going side-to-side and wobbling around a little bit, but the crowd will still be loud,'' Chargers linebacker Ben Leber said.

    It was what the Manning family said in the days leading up to the 2004 Draft that has San Diego fired up. Manning, after his father and former NFL quarterback, Archie, met with the Chargers' brass, informed the team he didn't want to come to San Diego with the draft's first pick.

    Let's get this straight: a single, millionaire in his 20s, with the scenery San Diego offers – on and off the beach – and he didn't want to come?

    "I didn't understand the reason why and they could never give you a reason why and it really didn't matter to me,'' Chargers team president Dean Spanos said. "We were going to do whatever we wanted to do anyway and so we did and we drafted him.''

    It's believed the Mannings were reluctant to send their youngest son to a team in the midst of a massive rebuilding project. The Chargers were coming off a 4-12 season – their eighth straight non-winning season – and their offensive line was in upheaval.

    So Eli Manning, through Archie, informed the Chargers not to draft him. They did, then peddled him in a package to the Giants that included Philip Rivers – the quarterback San Diego wanted all along. They also rebounded with a 12-4 mark and their first AFC West title since 1994.

    But Eli Manning's glum _expression when standing on stage and briefly wearing a Chargers hat was priceless. Now he'll have to pay come Sunday, in playing a defense that's nearly as revved up as the fans.

    "For a guy who said he doesn't want to play for an organization, it was disrespectful to all of us,'' Chargers defensive tackle Jamal Williams said.

    One defensive starter, who requested anonymity, had this to say: "Of course, we're going to try to take his head off. He disrespected all of us. He obviously had no belief in himself as a leader. He wanted to be the quarterback on a ‘better' team."

    Leber said Manning acted as if there was one draft for him, and one for the thousands of others who came before him.

    "This kid is a rookie, he's the first pick overall,'' Leber said. "Why is he being picky where he wants to go? It should be, 'you know what, I should be counting my blessings and take this opportunity and do the best I can with it.'

    "A lot of us went through the draft, a lot of guys didn't make it into the draft. I think it's kind of a slap in the face to the system. He hadn't done anything in the profession and here he is trying to dictate what goes on without ever taking a snap.''

    He'll take one Sunday against a team, and city, bent on revenge.

    "I think that it's going to be an exciting game, I really do and I'm looking forward to it,'' Spanos said. "We're not looking back. We're happy and I'm sure the Giants are happy, too, and the Manning family.''

    But in this family feud, the Chargers would love to get the last smirk.

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