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Eli Manning, the Giants' quarterback often referred to as "The Other Manning," doesn't think the team's opening game of the 2006 season is anything special. So what if it's against the Indianapolis Colts? So what if their quarterback is his older brother, Peyton?

"It's not between me and Peyton," he said. "It's between the Giants and the Colts. We aren't going to tackle each other or block each other. We just happen to be the quarterbacks."

Well, lots of other people feel somewhat differently. The NFL is proud to announce that this will be the first regular season game in league history with two brothers opposing each other. Eli admits that he and Peyton have never played against each other -- "and even our older brother, Cooper, played with Peyton in high school so they never went against each other in an organized game."

Oh, sure, there were the backyard touch football games and the pickup basketball games, but such things don't count. They especially don't count to Eli, who remembers: "We'd be playing touch in the backyard and sometimes I didn't even get asked to play," he said. "I was always the baby." Eli is seven years younger than Cooper and five years junior to Peyton. .

"Once in a while they'd let me be a receiver, and maybe if I was all clear they'd throw it to me. But if I dropped it, I wouldn't play the rest of the day. And my mother and father used to put me in the car and we'd go everywhere to see Peyton play his games. Not just football, baseball and basketball, too."

Now they're all grown up, and the two football-playing brothers have their own teams to lead. Both made the NFL playoffs last year and each team, in the minds of many, is more than capable of repeating its division championship.

"I will have a lot to learn about the Colts' defense," Eli said of the Sept. 10 Sunday night game. "That's a good team with a good defense. And I think Peyton is going to have problems with our defense, which is also very good. I'm kind of glad it's the opening game of the season, because whatever happens we can just forget it and get on with the next 15 games."

And to whom will his parents, former NFL quarterback Archie and his wife, Olivia, give their support? "Oh, they'll be at the game," Eli said, "and I have a feeling they'll be rooting for both offenses."

Of some note: Peyton and Eli were both drafted as the first overall pick (Peyton in 1998, Eli in 2004) while daddy was "only" the second overall pick when he came out of college (by New Orleans in 1971).


--Reserve LT Bob Whitfield, who will be entering his 15th season, is one of the very few who negotiates without an agent. "I don't like giving away my money," he said, "and why should I pay an agent if I understand the business?" Whitfield signed a one-year contract this spring and, when asked about the negotiations, giggled: "I asked them how much they were going to pay me, they told me, and I said 'cool, I accept.' And then he added: "Not really."

--Chase Blackburn, the undrafted rookie who filled in at middle linebacker near the end of the season and played extraordinarily well until forced from the next-to-last game with a neck injury (after he had returned an interception 31 yards for a TD vs. Washington) is completely healed after a long rehabilitation period. "I'm fine," he said, "and one of the things I did was to strengthen my neck. I added an inch around with special exercises."

--PK Jay Feely, who became the butt of a Saturday Night Live skit last season after missing three field-goal attempts (two in OT) against Seattle, which turned into a 24-21 Seahawks' victory, was asked if he still hears about the incident. "Oh, yeah," he smiled. "In fact, they called me and asked if I would be one of their guest hosts for a night this year. I said no."

--The Giants have positioned their three new defensive backs in adjoining lockers. They are CBs Sam Madison and R.W. McQuarters and safety Will Demps. "We seem to be the guys who have the best chance of starting," said Madison, who joins the team after nine seasons with Miami (four of which were Pro Bowl years), "so why not start getting to know each other right away?"

--Word is that veteran DT Kendrick Clancy spurned the Giants and signed on as a free agent in Arizona simply because he felt he had been ignored. "If the Giants had offered him a contract earlier," said one of the players, "he would have taken it in a minute. He wanted to stay here. But when he said he had an offer from the Cardinals, they suddenly rushed in and offered to match it. That was too late. He was disrespected." .

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I signed a new contract and I'm happy with it, but I'll tell you this: If I start the opening game, I'll be asking for a big raise before the second game." -- Giants' reserve OT Bob Whitfield, who appeared to be joking.

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