Eli Manning still is recovering from his ankle procedure and is not expected to participate in any on-field activities until the start of training camp. But general manager Jerry Reese said Thursday that the franchise quarterback still is the franchise quarterback, and he predicted big things from Manning in 2014.
"Obviously, he's coming off the ankle injury and he's going to be out of spring ball, but Eli is a smart guy," Reese said of the quarterback, who is coming off a career-worst 27 interceptions and his first losing season since he was a rookie. "I think he's driven to prove that last year was just an odd year for him. I think last year was an odd year for him. I think he'll bounce back and have a terrific season."
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Manning does have a history of turnarounds. His previous career high for interceptions was 25 in 2010, and the following year, he was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time.
Now that he is 33, though, a bad year can quickly turn into a career slide. With two years left on his contract, this season could decide whether the difficulties are a fluke or a trend.
Reese seems to believe that Manning has many successful years ahead of him. 'I think so," he said. This season likely will determine whether he is correct.
Those issues are in the future, though. In terms of immediacy, Manning will not be on the field for OTAs and minicamp, giving the Giants their first glimpse of life without him in nearly a decade.
"We want him for the summer," Reese said of holding Manning out until training camp opens in July. "We know he'll be back in the summer. That's important to us to have him back in the summer. If he can do something in the spring, we'll be happy to see him out there, but we're not going to rush him back."
Notes & quotes: The Giants exercised a fifth-year option on the rookie contract of cornerback Prince Amukamara that has him scheduled to earn roughly $7 million in 2015. "He's a good player, so we exercised the option," Reese said . . . Reese called having running back David Wilson back on the field after offseason neck surgery a "bonus" and said Wilson is on schedule to return. . . Reese said the Giants will "respect the appeals process" regarding the latest failed drug test by safety Will Hill, then make any decisions regarding his future. If Hill's appeal is denied, the Giants are expected to cut ties with him . . . About the only solid clue Reese gave to the Giants' thinking for next week's draft was when he spoke about the offensive line, which was a source of frustration last year. "We have work to do still on the offensive line," said Reese, who has signed five veterans to the unit since the end of last year.