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eli manning

Prepare Yourself for Shirtless David Carr

We have officially already hit that point of NFL training camp when everyone is ready for it to be over. (By the third preseason game, you'll be begging for death.) The weariness is coming early this year, thanks to Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez, of course. This has become the sports story that your grandmother is asking you about; it has become the sports story that radio-D.J. schmucks in Columbus, Ohio, ask the president about. ("I don't like the idea of a quarterback controversy at the start of a season," said the prez. "So if I was a Jets fan, I'd be pretty nervous.") And, as usual, no one's talking about the Giants.

At Giants camp yesterday — oh, yeah, the Giants are having camp too; they won the Super Bowl last year and are playing games this year too — Eli Manning gave one of his rare interviews. The interviews have been rare not because Manning is avoiding the media; it's that the media is avoiding the Giants. Anyway, he had some fun with the idea that no one's paying attention.

“I told David Carr to take his shirt off while we were running sprints after practice,” Manning said on ESPN Radio on Thursday, “to see if he can get the same coverage.”

This is actually a pretty good joke, particularly for Eli, playing off not just Tebow's famous shirtless run in the rain — which we were there to see in person and was far less of An Event than we suspect reporters will be telling people all year — but the fact that he is, after all, a backup.

Mocking the Jets for being attention whores while the defending champions toil in obscurity has become such a common observation that it's almost a cliché at this point, but Eli gets credit for turning into less of a chest-beating "nobody respects us!" athlete trope and more of an excuse to make jokes. He even asked if ESPN, which is still at Jets camp today, was moving its headquarters from Bristol to Cortland. If you've been to Bristol and been to Cortland, you'll know they probably should have done that years ago.

Anyway, it remains hilarious that the defending Super Bowl champion quarterback who just hosted Saturday Night Live is the third-most prominent quarterback in town. And fourth, once Carr takes his shirt off.

Photo: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images