Rivers linked to Manning forevermore

The rookie symposium, ironically in San Diego, brought together most of the 2004 NFL Draft for a session on money management and general practices that can help the young kids excel in life. It also brought together Philip Rivers, the embraced, and Eli Manning, the scorned. Coincidentally, Manning must have heard about the dubious plans for his luggage...

Forever linked, were Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning.

Forever linked are Philip Rivers and Eli Manning.

The bad-luck Chargers can't be stung twice, can they?

Peyton Manning, the No. 1 pick over Leaf in 1998, directed the Colts to the playoffs and has a co-NFL MVP on his resume.

Leaf's credentials show a 4-14 starting mark and the distinction of being among the biggest draft busts in NFL history.

The Chargers had Eli Manning this spring, but -- much to the Mannings' preference -- traded him to the Giants for Rivers.

How they both perform will be written and talked about for years.

"If I have a bad game and Philip Rivers has a great game, they will say something," Eli Manning said. "But you deal with it and make the best of everything."

The younger Manning and Rivers recently hooked up at a NFL rookie orientation in the San Diego area.

"You can't meet anyone nicer," Manning said of Rivers. "He's fun to be around and loves football and it is fun to talk football with him."

Talk of Eli not coming to Southern California gets San Diego citizens riled. In fact, the Giants' quarterback wasn't sure about his reception.

"I was a little skeptical about checking bags at the airport," Manning said. "Going back home, I didn't know where my bags would end up, so I carried them on."

Added Rivers: "He thought his luggage might end up in Tokyo."

Manning is glad he landed in New York. The Chargers think they have a prized apple in Rivers. Which team -- if either -- gets the Leaf-like worm, will be determined.


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