When Eli Manning and Philip Rivers play at Giants Stadium on Sunday, it’ll be the first matchup between the two quarterbacks who were swapped for each other during the first round of the 2004 draft.
Be sure to watch, said Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, whose spot in San Diego was secured as part of a draft-weekend blockbuster trade, in 2001.
“There’s a natural rivalry there with Philip and Eli, as it was with Michael Vick and myself from the trade,” Tomlinson said. “Those two are going to be linked for their whole career. So, as a fan, that’s something you want to watch.”
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Manning preferred the Giants to the Chargers, who took him anyway with the No. 1 pick, then dealt him to New York for Rivers and a handful of picks.
Two years ago, Manning led the Giants to a Super Bowl victory.
“I don’t have any regrets,” he told San Diego reporters during a conference call Wednesday.
Rivers said he’s happy the Chargers acquired him and two future Pro Bowlers – outside linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding.
“I think I like it here a whole lot better,” Rivers said. “It certainly fits me out here.”
Merriman said he doesn’t sense the Chargers harbor any ill will toward Manning for choosing New York over San Diego.
“I just look at it as another quarterback I need to get on the ground, period, and he’s a pretty good one,” he said.
As for the Chargers jersey that Manning got on draft day? “I think my parents have it,” Manning said. “I gave it to my mom. She put it in her purse that day, and she has it for a rainy day, I guess.”
NOTES: ILBs Kevin Burnett and Tim Dobbins did not practice because of ankle injuries. … Tomlinson said Giants fans will razz him, telling him that former Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, a Hall of Famer, is the real L.T. “How can you argue?” Tomlinson said. Merriman wears No. 56 partly in honor of Taylor.