Eli Manning Recalls ‘Drilling Balls’ at Nephew Arch Manning When He Was 4 Years Old: ‘I Had to Toughen Him Up’

The two-time Super Bowl champ spoke with PEOPLE about his nephew, the No. 1 overall quarterback prospect who committed to the University of Texas

Eli Manning is helping to keep the family name alive in football, even if that means starting 'em young!

As the son of Archie Manning, brother of Peyton Manning and a two-time Super Bowl champ, the retired New York Giants quarterback has an NFL legacy to uphold — so it's no surprise that Eli helped his 18-year-old nephew, Arch Manning, follow in their football footsteps as early as possible.

When speaking with PEOPLE about his latest partnership with Corona, Eli recalled the early days of tossing the pig skin with Arch, the No. 1 prospect who committed to the University of Texas and will play for the Longhorns when the college football season kicks off in September.

"I think my first catch with him, he was like four years old," Eli tells PEOPLE exclusively of his nephew at the Fine Life Playbook preview in New York City. "I'm just drilling balls at him and bouncing off so he didn't cry," he playfully recalls.

RELATED: Eli Manning Talks About the 'Pressure' on His Nephew Arch Manning: 'He's Doing Great'

Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty; Todd Kirkland/Getty
Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty; Todd Kirkland/Getty

But there's a reason for Eli's coaching method. "I had to toughen him up," he explains. "And make sure he was tough enough to handle this."

Over a decade later, Eli's unofficial coaching paid off for Arch, who's reportedly received rave reviews during Texas’ scrimmage in recent weeks. However, Eli confirmed that the incoming freshman "is not going to start this season."

Although the proud uncle says he's "excited for my nephew," he agrees with the team's decision at this time. "I think it is the right move," Eli says. "He's got a lot to learn."

RELATED: Eli Manning Trolls Nephew Arch for Breaking His High School Passing Record: 'I Had 7,000!'

<p>Tim Warner/Getty I</p>

Tim Warner/Getty I

Speaking from his own freshman experiences as former college football player at the University of Mississippi in 1999, the retired football star shared the advice he'd tell Arch.

"Be there, learn from the guys ahead of you, take mental reps during practice and during the games" were a few of the tips Eli shared, as well as "always being ready to go out there and play."

Above all, however, Eli concludes with the most important piece of advice: "Just enjoy being in college," he tells PEOPLE.

RELATED: Quarterback Arch Manning — Nephew of Peyton and Eli — Announces Commitment to University of Texas



As for whether the NFL all star will be taking a trip down to the Lone Star State to cheer on the football star on the rise? "I think we'll wait to see how the schedule plays out, if he gets into any games... wait to see when he might be playing."

"If that's this year or next year," Eli says he'll "plan from there."

In the meantime, Eli's transitioning his uncle coaching duties into an untraditional coaching endeavor. The retired QB is teaming up with Corona Extra to coach fans on how to live the fine life and savor every bit of the NFL season.

"We find ways to really cherish and celebrate all the moments of a game or any moment, no matter what the score is," Eli tells PEOPLE, while promoting the Fine Life Playbook contest.

He adds, "It's a more casual attitude towards the game."

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