Eli Manning plans to take this year off before eventually getting back into football in some capacity, the recently retired New York Giants quarterback said Thursday during a USO video conference call with service members and their families.
His next role may include teaching and coaching youth football. He knows it won't be coaching in any capacity at the NFL level. Not after Manning has seen the long hours that involves.
Broadcasting? Manning hasn't ruled that out for the future, but he's not about to jump into that just yet. He has four children (three daughters and a young son) all ages 9 and under.
"I really wanted to try to take a year off and just try to gather my bearings and get settled with my family and figure out what I want to do in that next chapter," Manning said from his home in Mississippi. "I know one thing: I don't want to be an NFL coach. I've seen what our coaches do and the hours they put in, and I enjoy being with my family and enjoy coaching some of their sports teams."
Manning, who spent all 16 seasons of his professional career with the Giants, does expect to remain involved with the only organization he's known. That, he believes, will come down the line.
In the meantime, Manning said he hasn't thrown a real football since retiring at the beginning of the year. Most of his time has been spent homeschooling and keeping his children occupied during the coronavirus pandemic.
He's also been working on a bunch of charity projects. He said he intends to "up my game" in that area in retirement.
Thursday afternoon, it was entertaining service members for 50 minutes. The USO has made an effort during Military Appreciation Month to use virtual programming to keep its members connected during this time. Manning thanked service members from around the world for their service, commitment and selflessness.
Next up, on Monday, he'll participate in a Robin Hood Foundation event with some of his former teammates. That will include a TV appearance to help New Yorkers in need. Manning conceded that this isn't necessarily the way he envisioned retirement, though he's not complaining. He's content spending much of his spare time working with charities.
Eventually, he expects the football itch to return.
"Football is my love and passion," Manning said. "It is all I've known for the last 25 years and all I've been doing. I don't think I can stray too far away from that. I'd like to hope to do something with the Giants, stay involved with them. I probably need a little break right now just because it's so new. So I'm going to take a little time, enjoy some family time, but I assume I'll be jumping back into football in some way.
"I don't know if I want to do announcing ... yet. Or go into that field. I might want to stay more hands-on with either the Giants or some coaching with a high school team."
Manning talked about how he enjoyed coaching his daughter's basketball team and about how he was going to be coach softball as well. He's also had experience coaching college and high school quarterbacks at the Manning Passing Academy each summer in Louisiana.
An extension of this seems to be a front-runner for future endeavors.
"I always really enjoy working with freshmen in high school and getting them to learn how to play quarterback at a higher level," he said. "You see the difference when they come in that first day and leave four days later, and the growth that they've made in that time.
"To find ways to do that in your community and really help people at the beginning of their career to learn the game of football, to learn the mechanics and things, I think that is an interest for me that I'd like to continue to do and maybe find ways to grow in that."