EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Quarterback Eli Manning changed a play near the goal line without telling anyone on the New York Giants offense and paid a price.
Manning was knocked out of the Giants’ preseason game with the New York Jets on Monday night after suffering a three-inch gash to the left side of his temple that required 12 stitches to close.
The Giants say Manning showed no signs of a concussion and was sent home by the Giants’ medical staff. His status for Saturday’s night preseason game here against the Pittsburgh Steelers is uncertain.
“I feel fine. I feel normal,” Manning said in a statement released by the team. “The play was my fault. We had a run play with an option to throw a fade that I thought I might try, but Brandon (Jacobs) was coming right up the middle. Sometimes you make a mistake and you get hit in the head. It’s preseason, you learn from it.”
Manning said he will be back soon, that he didn’t really sustain an injury.
“I really feel like I could go back out and play right now if I had to,” he said.
Manning was hurt on a third-down, play-action pass from the Jets 5-yard line with 10:45 left in the second quarter.
Jacobs ran into Manning with his shoulder while expecting a handoff. The force of the collision knocked the ball out of the quarterback’s hands and into the air.
As Manning reached to catch it, Jets linebacker Calvin Pace slammed the quarterback in the middle of his back, knocking Manning’s helmet off and pushing him face first forward, where the quarterback’s head slammed into either Jets safety Jim Leonhard or Jacobs, who were standing next to each other.
Manning immediately fell to the turf and put his hand to his head. He quickly motioned to the training staff for help once he saw his hand covered in blood.
Replays showed blood gushing from Manning’s head shortly after he fell to the ground.
Jacobs called the play a miscommunication.
“We had a call and he wanted to change it and do it on the run,” said Jacobs, who recovered the fumble. “It ended up not working out. It was a communication issue on both of our parts. Eli will be fine.”
Jacobs said he was not sure how Manning was cut.
Pace said he was just playing football.
“As I was hitting him, I looked back and the ball was out,” Pace said. “I was really just trying to get upfield on that play. It’s a preseason game and you don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”
Coach Tom Coughlin said Manning never made an “alert” call to tell the offense and Jacobs that he was audibling out of the planned handoff.
“The nature of the play, it should never have happened,” Coughlin said. “I didn’t know the real extent of the cut. His pants and shirt were all bloody so it squirted.”
Manning left the field at the New Meadowlands Stadium with a towel held to the left side of his head to limit the bleeding. He was accompanied by two Giants trainers.
Fans gave him an ovation as he walked off the field.
Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara didn’t realize how serious the injury was until he saw the replay on one of the stadium’s four jumbo scoreboards.
“Initially we were all concerned and scared,” O’Hara said. “When you see a quarterback bleeding like that it was something out of a Friday The 13th Movie. Now we know it’s pretty much a laceration. I think, hopefully, it will make him look at little tougher.”