ALBANY -- New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton will forever be linked with quarterback Eli Manning.
Slayton caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Manning early in the third quarter of the Giants' game against the Miami Dolphins Dec. 15 at MetLife Stadium. That would prove to be the final TD pass of Manning's 16-year career. Manning announced his retirement Friday.
Manning, who had been relegated to backup QB before Week 3, got the start in that game because Daniel Jones had a high-ankle sprain.
Slayton, who just completed his rookie season with the Giants, spoke about that touchdown during a press conference Sunday for the 60th anniversary of the #518gives fundraiser to benefit the Center for Disability Services.
"It's huge," said Slayton, who had 48 receptions for 740 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games this season. "He's a legend of the game. A New York legend, somebody I have a tremendous amount of respect for. I'm young right now and just a rookie. Right now, it's just another [touchdown] ball. I'm sure, when I look back on my career, it will be something that is really special to me, because not everybody has the opportunity to play with someone of that caliber. It's an honor."
Asked if he kept the ball, Slayton hesitated, then laughed.
"I wanted to keep it," said Slayton, the Giants' fifth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Auburn. "I think [Eli] has it."
The Giants finished the season 4-12 and in third place in the NFC East. That cost head coach Pat Shurmur his job. Replacing him is Joe Judge, a former wide receiver and special teams coach with the New England Patriots. The Giants also hired former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett to be the offensive coordinator.
"We want to build on last year," Slayton said. "Obviously, it didn't go the way we wanted it to go. I'm sure coach Judge and coach Garrett look forward to coming in and getting some wins."
Slayton was impressed with Jones, and believes the future is good with him as the Giants' QB.
"I think he did really well as a rookie," Slayton said. "The hard part is you come to find out that every single week, you're learning something new with each new opponent. He's got a year under his belt. I think he's going to take off next year."
VOIT ON CHEATING SCANDAL
New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit was also at the event.
Naturally, one of the questions that came up was the Houston Astros' cheating scandal. The Astros are accused of using video to steal signs. Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for a year by Major League Baseball. The Astros took a step further and fired the pair.
The scandal also ended up costing former Astros coach Alex Cora his job as Boston Red Sox manager, and ex-Astros player Carlos Beltran had to step down as New York Mets manager and he was the only player mentioned in the investigation.
Voit, who batted. 263 with 21 homers and 62 RBI in 118 games last year, could only shake his head when the question came up.
"I'm just here because I have to be, right?" Voit said with a laugh.
Then he got serious when asked how damaging this is to Major League Baseball.
"It's something we all knew was happening," Voit said. "It finally came out. It sucks, man. Obviously, the whole sign-stealing stuff has been a part of the game forever. The catcher puts down a sign, the guy's on second and he's going to be trying to steal your signs. It's typical. It's been around for 150 years.
"But to take technology into it and all the stuff you guys found out about it, it sucks. As much as they say you ain't cheating, you ain't trying, it's a bunch of BS. I'm glad it's getting fixed. I'm glad it's over with because, man, this offseason has just been bad for the game. I'm excited to see spring training and flip the switch on this whole thing."
Ironically, the Yankees signed free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole away from the Astros. Voit is looking forward to being Cole's teammate, but Cole already "stole" something from Voit.
"Yeah, because he took my number," said Voit, who wore 45, which was Cole's number with the Astros. Voit will wear No. 59. "He should buy me a house with the money he got. He's a good guy. I'm excited for him. He's a really good pitcher. That's kind of what we needed, that front-line horse guy for [this] year."
On Twitter, follow Associate Sports Editor Ken Schott @slapschotts and Daily Gazette Sports @dgazettesports. Email Schott at [email protected]. Listen to “The Parting Schotts Podcast” at https://dailygazette.com/sports/partingschotts, Apple Podcasts, Castbox and Spotify.