Seth Wenig/Associated Press
After a serious knee injury cost him 14 games between the 2012 and 2013 seasons, receiver Mario Manningham is hoping that his return “home” to the Giants, for whom he was a 2008 third-round draft pick, changes his fortunes.
However, Manningham, one of the heroes of Super Bowl XLVI, thanks to his amazing fourth-quarter reception that kept the Giants’ game winning drive alive, has not looked anything like the receiver he was before he signed as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers after the 2011 season.
He missed the entire spring while continuing to rehab his surgically repaired knee. In addition, since returning to training camp practices, Manningham has struggled to separate from defenders, raising concerns about whether his best years are behind him.
“Every day I feel better. I am going out here and just trying to get back where I was,” Manningham told reporters earlier this week.
“Coming in and out of my breaks, knowing I have the injury, it is taking me a little bit of time, but every day, it is getting better and better.”
While he’s encouraged by his progress, even Manningham knows he’s not a lock for the Giants' 53-man roster.
“This is still a new team to me—new faces, new staff, new offense,” he said. “I am going out there like I want to make this team, not like I already made the team or I got drafted here. I have something to prove.”
The silver lining for Manningham is the injuries to the other receivers, such as hamstring issues that have slowed down Rueben Randle and rookie Odell Beckham Jr., and the lower leg issue that has bothered Trindon Holliday.
If any of those injuries linger, Manningham might have a chance to stick. How much he will actually be able to contribute, assuming he makes the team, will be another story.