New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady called Eli Manning's benching by the Giants earlier this week an "unfortunate situation" and expressed sympathy for a rival QB who beat him in two Super Bowls.
"I have nothing but the most respect for him and everything he's achieved and accomplished in his career," Brady said of Manning in an interview with Westwood One Radio that aired Thursday. "I just have so much respect for his dependability, for his consistency, for his toughness. You know that's really everything you want in an NFL player, and I think Eli has always provided that for the (Giants)."
But the 40-year-old Brady also acknowledged that "there's not many happy endings in sports."
"I think there's always these types of situations," Brady said. "As a fan growing up, I mean, to see Joe Montana playing in another uniform, and again, to see Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott (in another uniform), you know guys that I really looked up to and admired.
"You always wish for everything to go like a fairy tale, but it doesn't. Michael Jordan played for the Washington Wizards. I mean, who would have ever believed that? And that's just pro sports."
Other NFL quarterbacks have criticized the Giants' move to bench Manning amid a woeful 2-9 campaign, including Chargers QB Philip Rivers, who called the decision "pathetic."
The decision to sit the 36-year-old Manning after 13 seasons on Tuesday was unexpected, especially with five games left in an injury-filled season. The Giants gave the two-time Super Bowl MVP the option to start the first half of their remaining games in order to keep his consecutive-games streak alive, but Manning declined.
PHOTOS: Best of NFL Week 13
Best of NFL Week 13