EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Eli Manning is optimistic there will be a new collective bargaining agreement and an NFL season.
“I have been optimistic the whole time and it sounds like they are trying to work it out, the owners and players are trying to get everything figured out,” the New York Giants quarterback said Monday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I do feel we will have a season.
“Hopefully, everything gets worked out quickly so we can get to training camp on time and get guys back to work and have a full season. That’s what the fans want. Obviously, they are the ones that make this possible, so hopefully we can get it done for them.”
Manning, who has refused to talk to the media following recent workouts with teammates, said he has avoided discussing the labor issue since the lockout began in March because he didn’t have much to say and didn’t want to say anything inappropriate.
“You can only get in trouble with this type of situation,” the 2008 Super Bowl MVP said. “I just wanted to get my work in with my receivers.”
Manning spent most of the interview talking about acting with his brother, Peyton. The two appeared in a video called “Football Cops” to promote DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket.
The Mannings are cast as former players turned cops in the spoof in which the normally clean-shaven quarterbacks wear mustaches. Eli sports one that can either be described as a Fu Manchu or a handlebar, while Peyton settles for a regular bushy mustache.
“I have always been envious of people who have been able to grow a mustache,” Eli Manning said. “Mine just does not come in with the Tom Selleck thickness that I’ve always wanted.”
Eli almost had to take it off because the producers were worried it made him unrecognizable.
“They were worried people would say who was that with Peyton,” Eli said. “But it looked too good and I had to stay with it.”
The video aired last week and more than 620,200 people had viewed it on YouTube by the time the weekend was over, including many of the Giants’ offensive linemen.
“The only good part about the lockout is that I haven’t had to see them every single day since this campaign came out,” Eli Manning said. “I am sure they are working on something and got some takes from it and put together something else or have a spoof on it. They’ve had a lot of time on their hands, so it scares me a bit. I’ve gotten a lot of texts and calls. That’s their job: to give me hell about it.”
For the most part, Manning said they have enjoyed the two minute, 38 second video that was filmed in Brooklyn. The taping took place during an eight-hour shoot on May 19, less than a week after Manning completed a passing camp with teammates in Hoboken, N.J.
“All the passing camp and throwing to my receivers was just preparing me for the bad guys, to make sure I could hit them,” said Manning, who comically subdues the hoodlums in the ad by throwing footballs at them instead of shooting them.
“It’s a different aim. When throwing to a receiver, you put a little lead on it and hit them in the hands, hit them out in front. This is you’re aiming for the head. If you are stationary, you aim for the middle of the chest.”
Manning said he did all the scenes without a stunt double, including running across a rooftop at the end of the video and throwing a ball at a “bomber” on another roof. He added that a lot of the lines were improvised, and the producers took the ones they liked.
“It was,” he said, “a lot of fun.”
Looking back on the players’ workouts, Manning said he felt uncomfortable having the media and fans watching them, noting that organized team activities are generally closed.
“We are getting together and getting some decent work, but not as quality work as we should be at this time when we are in OTAs and minicamps,” Manning said. “I just wanted to work. We have a lot of young players and young receivers and new guys and I just wanted to get them up to date.
“I don’t want them to have redshirt years.”
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
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