PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 25: Eli Manning #10 and Sterling Shepard #87 of the New York Giants look after a penalty was made against the New York Giants in the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 25, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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New York Giants wideout Sterling Shepard addresses how much Eli Manning has meant to him these past few years.

Over the past couple of seasons, Sterling Shepard — when healthy — has proved to be a reliable weapon within the New York Giants offense. His on-field production began almost instantly, as he finished his rookie campaign with 65 receptions for 683 yards and eight touchdowns. Each statistic was good for second on the team.

When it comes to his success, Shepard owes a lot to Eli Manning, who started in 45 of his 53 games up this point. This past week, the receiver took the time to praise Eli amid his retirement from the NFL.

“He meant a lot to [New York],” he said, per TMZ. “He meant a lot to me and my career.”

Shepard additionally noted that he believes Manning will be headed to Canton as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Shepard played in three of the four games Eli started in this past year. In the trio of matchups, the veteran receiver caught 19 balls for 181 yards, with his most productive game coming in Eli’s final start against the Miami Dolphins. Shepard finished with nine receptions and 111 yards in that Week 15 victory.

Eli held his official retirement press conference at the Giants field house on Friday, with many current and former teammates in attendance. No. 10 finishes his career seventh all-time in both passing yards and touchdowns and leaves an unmatched legacy.

Prior to Manning’s speech, co-owner John Mara mentioned to the audience that the organization will be retiring the quarterback’s number.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.