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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Eli Manning, WatchDog reunite

Back in 2004, when I was less old and Eli Manning was more young, and I had no blog or Facebook page or Twitter feed, a wrote a series on "The Education of Eli" (or words to that effect) to mark his rookie season.

It won a Newsday Publisher's Award, which was much deserved, if I do say so myself, given that prying enough material out of Eli to produce an entire series is not exactly the same as doing so for, say, Rex Ryan.

Anyway, I visited Giants training camp Monday for the first time since 2004, and marked the occasion by having my longest conversation with Manning since lo those many years ago.

Here is the story I wrote afterward, after a pit stop in the nicely renovated and modernized University at Albany cafeteria.

The beat writers understandably were out of sorts because for the first time in memory there was no frozen yogurt machine available, but other than that it was nice to see the old gang.

Turnover on football beats tends to be much slower than in baseball and other sports, owing to the fact football is the only pro sports beat that allows writers to maintain relatively normal familly and social lives.

I had lunch with Vinny DiTrani of the Record, who started on the beat in the mid-1970s and plans to retire after this season.

But I'll believe that when I see it.

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