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Eli honored at Ole Miss Charity Dinner


If you find yourself driving around Oxford, Mississippi some day, you'll have to do it more slowly now, thanks to Eli Manning.

The Giants quarterback recently returned to his alma mater at Ole Miss where he was honored with a charity dinner and a roast of sorts, followed by a panel discussion. At its conclusion, the former Rebel, who holds a least a share of 47 program records, was presented with a speed limit sign matching his jersey number – No. 10.

That's eight miles per hour down from the previous barrier, originally set in honor of his father, Archie, on Manning Way that cuts through the middle of campus.

Eli, who brought wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and offensive tackle David Diehl along for the trip down south, was asked about what drove him to another Super Bowl victory.

"In my opinion, I've never had really a day's work in my life playing football," Manning told the emcee, Shepard Smith of Fox News. "That's not work to me. Don't tell Mr. Mara or the Giants organization, but I'd probably do it for free. The greatest thing about playing football is still the friendships in the locker room and the friends you make and being around these guys. And having them come here is special. I knew these guys would like Oxford."

Smith brought up the Dec. 24 game against the Jets, and Diehl agreed that it was the turning point late in the season.

"That was a time when we went back to basics," Diehl said. "Going out to practice from that week on, they were the best practices I think we had from that point on for the rest of the season and up until the Super Bowl. Our Super Bowl practices, those five in Indianapolis, those were the best ones we had all year. Guys were flying around. There were no mental mistakes. So that game was the true turning point of our season. It's nice to walk away Christmas Eve and see a blue and red Empire State Building and not a green one."

Smith, a fellow Ole Miss alum, asked Manning if he'd consider returning to his alma mater in some position once he retires. But Manning said he has some more football to be played.

"I feel I'm entering the best part of my career," he said. "I said it last year before the season – these next seven years are going to be my best football years and I'm going to focus on that. When it's time to retire, we'll figure out what that next stage is going to be."

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