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Eli opens up on Plaxico, Tiki and lockout

In his first comments on the lockout, Giants

In his first comments on the lockout, Giants quarterback Eli Manning (right, with brother Peyton) said he was "optimistic" and "I do feel we will have a season." Photo Credit: AP

Eli Manning had given reporters the silent treatment for most of the offseason, but Monday, he lifted his cone of silence.

With Plaxico Burress released from prison, Tiki Barber mounting an NFL comeback and the lockout still ongoing, the Giants quarterback had plenty to say.

When asked who would be more welcome with the team, Burress or Barber, Manning sided with Burress.

"That's tough, a tough situation," Manning said on "The Dan Patrick Show." "I think probably Plaxico, just because he has probably fonder memories, winning a Super Bowl and that catch for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLII."

While working with NBC in 2007, a year after retiring, Barber criticized Manning's leadership abilities, sparking the usually reserved Manning to fire back. Time seems to have healed some of those wounds, as Manning appeared to come to Barber's defense.

"Tiki just ended on a bad note, and it's really a shame," Manning said. "He should be remembered as a great Giants running back and a terrific player because he was. Just kind of the way he went out and burned a few bridges with the fans and kind of went after me a little bit, it's unfortunate. And I'm not happy about it in that sense, but I think Plaxico would be welcomed back a little quicker."

As for the Giants getting back on the field, Manning said he is hopeful that a new collective-bargaining agreement will be reached soon.

"We are getting together and getting some decent work, but not as quality work as we should be at this time when we are in OTAs and minicamps," he told The Associated Press. "I just wanted to work. We have a lot of young players and young receivers and new guys and I just wanted to get them up to date.

"I don't want them to have redshirt years."

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