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Eli Manning shares thoughts on his number being retired, favorite memories at Ole Miss

Eli Manning shares thoughts on his number being retired, favorite memories at Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. — For the former Rebel football players in attendance, the “M” they sported on their lettermen’s jackets stood for “Mississippi.” 

Thursday night, the M could have stood for Manning. 

Eli Manning was back in town to be enshrined in the M Club Hall of Fame, just the first event that will culminate with his number 10 being retired Saturday when Ole Miss takes on LSU at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. 

Manning might be garnering all the personal accolades this weekend, but he is most enjoying spending time with the friends he made as an Ole Miss quarterback 

Eli Manning signs mini-helmets Thursday before the M Club Hall of Fame Banquet. (Photo: Josh McCoy)

“You know it’s been fun kind of keeping up and texting and calling with some of these guys these last few weeks and so I’m going to get together with a lot of them tomorrow, and on Saturday,” Manning said.

“But just to see some guys I haven’t seen in a long time, it wasn’t always easy to stay in touch with everybody and you know I wasn’t coming back for many games – maybe one game a year – and so this is an opportunity to see some buddies and like it is with any team, there’s some guys I’ve stayed in touch with, some guys I’ve been in weddings with and vice versa, but then there’s some you know you just haven’t talked to in as much that I’ve been able to reach out to and get to see them, so it’ll be exciting to catch up with so many guys and get to hang out with them,” Manning explained. 

Manning’s jersey will be the third retired by Ole Miss as he will join Chuckie Mullins and Manning’s father Archie.  

Eli’s parents also attended Ole Miss and he had a special wish for them Saturday.  “I hope my parents are proud of me and you know I think they’ll enjoy that day,” Manning said.

I know how they feel about Ole Miss. I think my senior year I thought my mom was going to enroll back into school. She was here so, so often and she loves coming back here and even these last 17 years that I’ve been away, they still come back and have their place here and they love, love Oxford, love Ole Miss, love rooting for the team and everything around the whole university, so it is a special place.” 

Eli Manning on his parents’ love for Ole Miss

Manning helped make Ole Miss a special place during his career where he won the 2003 Maxwell Award. As much as Manning gave the Rebels, his time in Oxford gave him lifetime memories. He recalled a few and of course had to mention a couple of teammates. 

“You know a lot of great memories,” Manning said.

I think home games; beating Alabama my sophomore year was pretty special. (We) hadn’t beaten them in 12 years and to kind of have a two-minute drive hitting Toward Sanford down the right sideline, hitting Joe Gunn on a swing route to the left to beat them in the rain was awesome. My junior year beating Florida here when they’re a top-five team in the country. Yeah, you know in my senior year just being with a lot of guys. We came in and a lot of us red-shirted, and to kind of be there five years with a lot of those guys and to have the senior year that we did and then go to the Cotton Bowl and finish off with the win there was pretty special as well.” 

Eli on his favorite memories at Ole Miss 

Saturday, Manning will also lead the Walk of Champions through The Grove before heading inside the stadium which will feature his family’s surname in each end zone. 

The game will kick off at 2:30 and be televised by CBS. 

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

Evelyn Van Pelt
Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn's love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.

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