Mario Manningham said he can be the player he was when he helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI. He just has to get on the field to prove it.
For now, the wide receiver who made one of the franchise's most iconic catches is standing off to the side while the rest of the team participates in mandatory minicamp. Coming off two knee surgeries in two relatively anonymous seasons with the 49ers, he's still not physically ready to run routes and take part in drills as he begins his second tenure with the Giants. He expects that time will come next month when the Giants report for training camp. And then . . .
"When I make a play or whatever in camp, it's going to be 'Oh yeah, that's what he does,'" Manningham said. "They know I can play. They just want to see is it still there. I know it is once I get 100 percent."
The question is whether he ever will. Manningham was a player who relied on speed and agility when he was a Giant. He showed flashes of that early in his time in San Francisco after he signed a two-year deal with them as a free agent. He caught 41 passes in 11 games in 2012 before tearing his ACL and PCL and watching the 49ers lose in the Super Bowl. "They were a better team with him on the field, believe me," Tom Coughlin said. "Two years ago before he got hurt, he made a big difference with them."
Last year, Manningham started the year on PUP. He came back in November, played a limited role in six games, and ended a second straight season on injured reserve. In January he had the same knee scoped.
Now he wants to prove that at 28, he can recapture the glory he found when he looked over his shoulder in front of the Patriots' bench in Indianapolis and grabbed the most important pass of Super Bowl XLVI.
"I hope he can make a play like the last time he was here," Coughlin said.
Manningham said the Giants' new West Coast offense is very similar to what he ran with the 49ers, so he has that familiarity. He also has the advantage of coming home to re-start his career where it began in the first place. "It gives me a little bit more hope," he said of not having to start over with a new organization. "I know these guys and I know the levels that they play at as far as winning and high intensity of the coaches and players. I'm glad I'm here."
Notes & quotes: WR Odell Beckham Jr. was limited in Wednesday's practice, but the first-round pick did catch a TD as he participated in team drills for the first time in nearly two weeks. "It felt good to be able to get out there and run around and be part of the offense," Beckham said, adding that he only ran at about 85 percent of his full speed . . . TE Larry Donnell was taken by ambulance to Hackensack Medical Center for dehydration following practice, which was conducted in 90-degree temperatures with high humidity. He received treatment and was discharged . . . Coughlin said the progress of the offense is being measured in "small gains" . . . Thursday is the final day of minicamp for the Giants. They will return for the start of training camp on July 21.