Eli Manning spoke of his respect for departed New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo while outlining his excitement at being restored to the starting quarterback role for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Manning was controversially demoted last weekend, ending his run of 210 consecutive regular-season starts, as McAdoo opted to select Geno Smith against the Oakland Raiders.
After the struggling Giants lost that match to slump to 2-10, McAdoo and Giants GM Jerry Reese were fired, with interim coach Steve Spagnuolo duly confirming Manning's return to starting duties on Wednesday.
"I'm excited - excited about the opportunity to play this week, get back on the field with my team-mates and go play against the Dallas Cowboys. I've played these guys a bunch and I look forward to going out there, at our home stadium, and trying to get a win," Manning told reporters.
"I feel for coach McAdoo - he's been a great coach to me, a great friend. We had a great relationship, I hope we continue to have one. I was able to have a good talk with him on Sunday before the game and then got to see him Monday before he left as well.
"So I have great respect for coach McAdoo and I don't think this is his fault, but obviously just where the team is, the Giants had to make a decision and that's what happens when you're 2-10."
Expressing gratitude for the messages he received following his axing, Manning added: "I appreciate all the support the fans have given me over this past week - it's been overwhelming.
"And all the former team-mates that sent me text messages, that voiced their opinions on things, even some players that I just met over the years, their support was very helpful and I appreciate that a lot."
Elsewhere on Wednesday, McAdoo wished the Giants success in his first statement since he was fired.
“It was a privilege and an honour to serve as a head coach of the New York Giants and be a member of the organisation for four years," said McAdoo.
"I will always appreciate having had the chance to coach so many outstanding players. As I have said many times, they are men of talent and I believe in their integrity and character. I wish them and the entire organisation success in the future."
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