Philip Rivers and Eli Manning will forever be connected because of a trade on April 24, 2004.
With 12 playoff games, Manning has actually started 222 consecutive games. Rivers will run his own consecutive-starts streak to 188 (197 with playoffs) Sunday against the Browns. He had a difficult time watching an emotional Manning speak Tuesday about his benching.
“I just thought it was too bad the way it was handled,” Rivers said Wednesday. “And with Eli, we’re not close buddies, but as a friend and fellow quarterback, it was tough to watch him yesterday. You can only imagine how he felt. And he handled it like a pro, like he’s handled everything.”
Kaepernick’s protests sparked a social firestorm last NFL season that carried over into this season, especially as President Donald Trump criticized players who continued the protests as the former Niners QB remained a free agent, despite having a better resume than many quarterbacks on NFL rosters.
The NFL eventually suspended Payton for one full season and handed out severe punishments to Vitt, general manager Mickey Loomis and the entire organization in the form of fines and lost draft picks. Four players were also initially punished — including a full-year suspension for linebacker Jonathan Vilma — though all of the player punishments were eventually overturned on appeal by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
When asked during those appeal hearings what motivated him to come forward, Cerullo said: “I was angry for being let go from the Saints. … I was angry at Joe Vitt, and I wanted to show that I was fired for lying and I witnessed Joe Vitt lying and he still had a job.”