During his rookie season, while he was in the midst of losing his first six games as the New York Giants' starting quarterback, Eli Manning got an unexpected phone call. It was from Derek Jeter, the star shortstop of the New York Yankees, and he had a simple message for Manning, who remembers it to this day.It's these little things that we rarely hear about that truly makes Jeter Jeter. Well done, Captain.... oh, and go Big Blue!
"It was kind of right after I'd become the starter and had a couple of tough games," Manning said. "He just told me, 'Keep your head up, keep doing what you're doing and it'll get better.'"
This was 2004. Jeter was an established New York superstar, owner of four World Series rings and on a Hall of Fame path. The phone call mattered because Jeter was someone Manning had been studying carefully.
"Derek's a guy, from the time I first came here, that I definitely have paid a lot of attention to," Manning said last week after a Giants practice. "He's a great player, but he's also a guy who really shows you what you have to do to succeed in a place like New York. The way he's handled himself on the field, off the field. The way he's dealt with all of the attention without letting it affect the way he does his job. He's done that better than anybody."
"Playing in this market, you learn quickly that you've got to be immune to the distractions," Manning said. "And watching Derek and seeing how he's kept his private life private and managed to keep the focus on the field and on the job he has to do, that's a big help for someone like me. That's what you've got to do, and he's the ultimate example."
"Eli is Eli," said Justin Tuck, Giants defensive end and admitted Yankees fan. "If you want to make the comparison, he's more Jeter than he is Peyton. I'll give you that. But he's Eli. He's himself. He doesn't need to be compared to anyone."
But the comparison to Jeter as a clutch player and an even-keeled star is a worthy one, and it seems to please Manning and Jeter, who share a mutual respect.
"I've always appreciated the way Eli has carried himself, not only on the football field but more importantly away from it," Jeter wrote in an email through the Yankees' media relations department. "He certainly seems to me to have the perfect demeanor to handle the spotlight that comes with playing in New York. He's already had a great deal of success in his career, and I don't see any reason that won't continue for a long, long time to come."
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
From Dan Graziano:
Tags: Derek Jeter