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INDIANAPOLIS — The New York Giants think quarterback Eli Manning has multiple years left as a starting quarterback and are open to trading down from the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft.

New Giants coach Pat Shurmur said Wednesday at the scouting combine that he thought Manning has “years left as a starting quarterback in this league.”

And new Giants general manager Dave Gettleman indicated that everything is on the board entering this week’s scouting combine, including potentially moving back in the first round.

“Are we open for business? You know, whatever. Any decision I make is going to be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. Plain and simple,” Gettleman said. “So if someone makes me an offer I can’t refuse, would I move back? Depends on who is there.

“Again, if there is a guy worthy of being the second pick of the draft and what we’re basically saying and answering that question to the affirmative, you’re drafting what you think is going to be a Hall of Fame player. So you can’t get too cute about that thing.”

The Giants are looking closely at the draft’s quarterbacks with Manning turning 38 before the end of the season. The Browns could also be in the market with the No. 1 overall pick. The Denver Broncos and New York Jets at No. 5 and No. 6 also are in need of quarterbacks.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has Wyoming’s Josh Allen, USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield in the top 10 on his most recent Big Board. Gettleman says he is at least intrigued by the group.

“It’s an interesting class. All shapes, sizes. All flavors,” Gettleman said. “It’s like Howard Johnson’s back in the day. I’m excited about meeting some of these guys here. It will be fun. Obviously we’ll be busy once the combine is over visiting and you have your 30 private visits. So that will be part of the process. It’s a really interesting, eclectic group.”

The Giants seem ready to at least gauge the market for the No. 2 pick. It could be strong with the collection of quarterbacks available and so many quarterback-needy teams.

“We’re going to find out,” Gettleman said.

The Giants say they’re open to all options, including Manning, despite his age, and 2017 third-round pick Davis Webb, despite his inexperience. Webb didn’t take a snap last season, but Gettleman and Shurmur, who served as the Minnesota Vikings‘ offensive coordinator the past two years, said they thought highly of Webb coming out of California last year.

The Giants could also take a closer look at other positions if they stay at No. 2. Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who’s No. 1 on Kiper’s Big Board, could be in the mix if they stay put.

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Three QBs from College Football Playoff among 131 players on official early entry NFL draft list



Ohio State junior quarterback Justin Fields is among 98 players granted special eligibility by the NFL into the league’s draft, while national championship-winning QBs Mac Jones from Alabama and Trevor Lawrence from Clemson are among another 30 players eligible after completing their degrees and deciding not to play more in college.

Those 128 players, plus three more who inquired about their draft status but didn’t need special eligibility, were on the NFL’s official list released Friday as available to be drafted after giving up their remaining college eligibility. The 131 total players is 11 more than last year, but still below the record 132 two years ago.

Fields, Jones and Lawrence, three of the starting quarterbacks from the four-team College Football Playoff earlier this month, had previously said publicly they were moving on to the NFL. The draft is April 29-May 1 in Cleveland.

They accounted for half of the six quarterbacks on the early entry list. The others are Zach Wilson after leading BYU to an 11-1 season, Stanford’s Davis Mills and Trey Lance, who led FCS powerhouse North Dakota State to a national title a year ago.

National champion Alabama has five players leaving early after beating Ohio State in the CFP title game on Jan. 11, with All-America quarterback Jones and linebacker Dylan Moses both early graduates. All-America cornerback Patrick Surtain II, defensive tackle Christian Barmore and receiver Jaylen Waddle were among the 98 players who met the NFL’s three-year eligibility rule.

Lawrence was 43-2 as Clemson’s starter and led the Tigers to the national title at the end of the 2018 season.

The 30 players with college eligibility remaining after completing their degree requirements had to notify the NFL of their intentions for the draft. That was up from 16 such players last year.

As for those 98 players granted special eligibility without yet finishing their degrees, that was one fewer than last year and the lowest total since 95 in 2017. Players less than four years removed from high school who have not completed a degree need to be granted special entry to the draft by the NFL.

Southern California has the most players leaving early for NFL draft eligibility with six. Stanford and Ohio State matched Alabama with five each.

That total for Stanford doesn’t include offensive tackles Walker Little and Foster Sarell, who inquired about their draft status but can be selected without the need for special eligibility. The only other player in that group was UAB linebacker Jordan Smith.

Elijah Moore, an All-American from Ole Miss, is one of the 19 receivers, and All-American Kyle Pitts from Florida among six tight ends. There are nine running backs on the list.

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Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, still in concussion protocol, at practice again Friday



KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes was with the Kansas City Chiefs as they began Friday’s practice session, their last one before Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium.

His participation on Friday would appear to put Mahomes on a path to play Sunday. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Mahomes took all of the snaps in Wednesday’s practice and a majority of them on Thursday.

Mahomes was knocked out of last week’s divisional-round playoff win over the Browns with symptoms of a concussion after he was tackled hard on a running play. He has been in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Three other key Chiefs players who have been fighting injuries were also present for the start of Friday’s practice: wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf), running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (hip, ankle) and cornerback Bashaud Breeland (concussion, shoulder).

Coach Sean McDermott said the Bills were preparing for Mahomes to play.

“I guess at the beginning of the week we weren’t quite sure, and we really won’t know, I guess,” McDermott said. “It’s probably trending in that direction, so that’s what we’re anticipating.”

ESPN’s Mike Reiss contributed to this report.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown ruled out for NFC title game vs. Green Bay Packers



TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not have wide receiver Antonio Brown for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game at the Green Bay Packers, coach Bruce Arians announced Friday.

“I just talked to him this morning, and to put him on the plane and fly up there and have it swell more doesn’t any sense,” Arians said. “He wasn’t as close as we’d hoped, so we’ll get him ready for the next one.”

Brown suffered a knee injury in the divisional playoff game at the New Orleans Saints and played only 27 snaps. He did not practice this week.

Arians had described him as “day to day,” but Brown wasn’t able to progress quickly enough in his healing.

The former All-Pro led the Buccaneers in receiving targets the final five weeks of the regular season and had a 36-yard touchdown catch in their wild-card win over Washington. Brown also has experience playing in two league championship games and a Super Bowl, something few other players have on this roster outside of Tom Brady.

“It obviously sucks for Antonio. We wish he could be out there with us,” Brady said. “Other guys are gonna have to step up and do the job. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the guys that haven’t been out there as much when AB’s been in there.”

Arians said he believes Scotty Miller and rookie Tyler Johnson will be able to step up. Johnson made a key third-down catch for 15 yards against the Saints. Miller had one catch for 29 yards against New Orleans, but he has been on the receiving end of some of Brady’s best deep pass plays this season — a 33-yard touchdown grab against the Las Vegas Raiders and a 48-yard touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.

“I think if you just look to last week, when Scotty and Tyler made those huge plays in the fourth quarter, the amount of trust that the coaches and Tom have in those guys just because they’ve earned it. Their performances have earned it,” Arians said. “Antonio will be missed, but we’ve got capable people stepping in.”

Arians said there is a possibility that defensive tackle Vita Vea will play after returning to practice this week for the first time since fracturing his ankle in Week 5.

“He’s looked real good. He’s been running around for almost three weeks and had a real good practice yesterday and a good one today,” Arians said. “We haven’t made that determination yet, but we’ll see if we want to activate him or not. There is a chance.”

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