THIBODAUX, La. — Eli Manning won a Super Bowl, got married, visited the White House, golfed at St. Andrews and then returned to south Louisiana this week to take part in the same football camp his family has hosted for 13 years.
Is he a changed man?
Hardly, say brother Peyton and father Archie.
“Eli’s not going to change,” Archie Manning said Friday at the Manning Passing Academy, a weekend-long instructional camp for 1,000 players grades 9-12.
The event has brought the patriarch of football’s first family and his sons together since Eli was in high school. Eli was a camper for the first few years and Peyton a young counselor on summer break from Tennessee.
Archie, who never pressured his sons to be football players, recalled being unsure whether Eli attended the camp out of love for the sport or a sense of obligation to family. His most vivid memory of his youngest son was the way the shorter shorts – in style back then – accentuated Eli’s adolescent physique.
“Eli had the longest, skinniest, whitest legs,” said Archie, who played in the NFL 15 years, mostly with the Saints, and still lives in New Orleans. “I couldn’t tell whether he had fun or not, whether he really wanted to be there. I think he knew he was expected to be there.”