Chargers Select Manning

With the number one overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft the San Diego Chargers select Eli Manning, quarterback out of Ole Miss. A few short days ago, Manning and his constituents told the Chargers not to draft him as he preferred to play elsewhere. There is even talk that he may sit out the season rather than play for the Bolts. General Manager AJ Smith said his plan would not waver as he looked to do what is in the best interest of the franchise.

The Bolts used twelve of their allotted fifteen minutes to make their selection in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Eli Manning was number one on a number of teams' draft boards, including the New York Giants. The Chargers talked to a number of teams before the draft about a trade but would not settle for a reduced package because he does not want to play for the team. If anything, it made the Chargers stubborn and determined to take him if no deal to their liking came along.

On Wednesday, Tom Condon, the agent for Manning, told the Chargers of the feelings of the Manning family. Condon never specified a preference just that the Chargers not pick him.

Manning called the move "my decision" saying he was not influenced by anyone.

This is a move that will define the franchise. Manning sitting out could have repercussions that the Chargers may not recover from in San Diego. Fans are already on edge over the pick and the season ticket base is dwindling. If Manning sits out, the team is in serious danger of finishing with the number one overall pick next year – having the worst record in the league.

Manning had a solid career at Ole Miss. A three year starter, Manning was awarded numerous honors since his sophomore campaign: All American, All Conference and SEC Offensive Player of the Year as a senior when he also won the Maxwell Award as the nation's top collegiate player and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, handed to the top senior quarterback in the country. He finished 2003 with passing numbers of 62.4%/3,600/29/10.

There is still a chance the Chargers could trade Manning at a later time.

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