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After 17 years, a career that led to two Super Bowl victories and a spot in the top 10 of various all-time quarterback charts, Eli Manning finally spoke about why he didn’t want to play for the Chargers of San Diego, the team that selected him No. 1 overall in 2004.

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“It was my decision to have spoken with my agent, coaches, (GMs) and owners,” Manning said on the “10 Questions with Kyle Brandt” podcast, which was published Thursday.

“Going through the draft process, I was concerned about the Chargers organization at the time. I felt it was the right decision and I had a little jerk. I tried to say quietly. ‘Hey, please don’t recruit me, it could be our secret,’ and they didn’t keep the secret part very well. “

At the time, the Chargers hadn’t had a winning season in 10 years and were 1-15 in 2000, the same season the Giants lost Super Bowl XXXV to the Baltimore Ravens.

The Chargers took No. 1 Manning, then traded him in an hour to the New York Giants for No. 4 overall draft pick Philip Rivers and three future draft picks. Among them were Robert Gallery at No. 2 against the Oakland Raiders, who turned out to be a flop, and future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

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Many people have long speculated that Manning’s father, Archie, was behind the play to keep Eli out of San Diego. Eli said that was not true.

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“My dad just tried to take a little heat off me,” Manning said. “I knew they would criticize me, he didn’t like the idea at first just because it was going to cause a lot of drama.”

The trade worked for both teams.

Both Manning and Rivers are the top all-time passers for their teams. Manning threw for 57,023 yards, Rivers for 63,440 yards in 16 seasons with the Chargers and one with the Indianapolis Colts. Rivers is fifth all-time in passing yards and Manning eighth.

Manning was a two-time Super Bowl MVP; Rivers was named to the Pro Bowl eight times.

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