June 16, 2012 07:00 PM

Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic

Eli Manning has a little lady after his own heart!

The Giants quarterback tells PARADE that his 14-month-old daughter Ava Frances is already showing an interest in sports.

“She’s still working on her throwing motion a little bit. She does like playing with footballs, basketballs and baseballs. One of her first words was, ‘Balls,'” says Manning, 31.

“And of course I have a lot of footballs around the house so she’s often picking them up and throwing them. It’s kind of a two-handed toss right now, as expected.”

Often logging long hours on the field, the proud papa admits nothing compares to heading home to his family each night.

“Right when I walk in the door I immediately drop everything and look for her, hoping that she’s not taking a nap or sleeping,” Manning shares. “That you get to run around and play with her a little bit, that’s one of the most exciting things.”

However, the doting dad isn’t taking all the credit when it comes to raising his little girl. Noting that the experience of fatherhood has been nothing short of a “blessing,” he agrees that his wife Abby has taken on much of the responsibility.

“My wife does a lot of the work while I’m away practicing and having commitments,” he says.

But, this Sunday, Manning reveals it’s all about daddy duty as the sports star and Ava will throw out the first pitch during the Mets game at Citi Field.

“I’m looking forward to this being the first Father’s Day where I really have some interaction since she’s 14 months and we can have a fun day, do something active, like going to the Mets game,” he explains.

As for plans to expand their home team in the future, Manning and Abby are open to the possibility. “We haven’t quite timed it all out, but we definitely want to have more kids down the road,” he says.

— Anya Leon

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