If Aaron Rodgers ends up packing his bags and taking his talents to the Jets, former Giants stars Eli Manning and Shaun O'Hara have some simple advice on how he can thrive in New York -- "just win!!"
The two-time Super Bowl MVP and his good buddy/former teammate took a few minutes from their Easter extravaganza with The Children's Place in New Jersey on Friday to chat with Babcock and Lucas on the TMZ Sports TV show (airs weekdays on FS1) about the biggest story of the NFL offseason ... and they both offered a solid perspective on what's going through Aaron's head as he contemplates his future.
"It's hard just because your whole life, you work towards it," Eli tells us. "You're dedicated to the game, you've been doing it the past 25 years since high school, preparing to play this game. To say, 'Alright, I'm not doing it anymore,' it's a really tough decision."
"Usually, in your heart, you just know you're not willing to do the preparation, to do the work, to do the full commitment it takes to play at that level."
Eli -- who retired in 2020 -- says he knew he made the right call when he called it a career ... because when he started watching games as a spectator, the tackles made on the field looked "brutal."
O'Hara added even after players retire, they will continue to think they can still play ... but he says since Rodgers is playing at such a high level, he'd be shocked if he left the game behind right now.
If O'Hara is right, there's a good chance Rodgers could end up with a new home after 18 seasons with the Green Bay Packers ... and there's rumblings that next team could be the Jets.
Since Manning and O'Hara have a ton of experience playing in the Big Apple, we asked if they had some wise words for the 4-time MVP ... and Eli thinks Rodgers would do just fine, especially after he spent several days on an isolation retreat in Oregon.
"I don't think Aaron needs any advice from us," Eli says. "The guy's been playing at an unbelievable level for so long, MVP. If he wants to come to New York and play if that's an option, he'll think about it."
"He's had his time in the darkness to debate that. And, he honestly can still play at a high level and come to New York with a young team, they have a talented roster there with the Jets."
O'Hara added all Rodgers has to do to keep the fierce New York media off his back is to rack up victories ... and Eli agreed.
"Yeah, everything works out if you win."
Manning and O'Hara were together for a really special reason -- they teamed up with The Children's Place to host more than 300 kids for a day of fun at Superdome Sports in Waldwick to kick off the brand's Spring collection.
There were football drills, giveaways, obstacle courses and Easter egg hunts ... and it was clear everyone had a blast.
Eli even showed he's still got a great arm in some throwing drills ... and gave some pointers to the youngins as well.
Eli also visited the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack earlier on Friday ... meeting with a bunch of amazing kids and handing out Easter baskets and autographs!!