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Eli Wants Edwards?

In an interview with ESPN today, Eli Manning all but admitted that he wants Braylon Edwards in Blue next season. Here’s the report from Mike Garafolo:

Thursday, in an interview with ESPN, Giants quarterback Eli Manning went about as far as one could expect him to go to publicly prod the team to make a trade for a No. 1 receiver.

Manning didn’t point to the camera and yell something like, “They’d better get me somebody to replace Plaxico Burress!” That’s not him. And he definitely didn’t diss the receivers already on the roster. But he made it clear, in his own understated way, that he wants a big, athletic target. And soon.

“I think Jerry Reese and the coaches and the owners, they’ve been studying all the receivers, whether it’s rookie receivers in the draft or free agents who are available and what might happen. So I think they’re on top of it,” Mannning said. “They know we have some good receivers here, some young guys who can play football for us, but that we might need a No. 1 receiver. So I think that’s what they’re going to look for right now and I’m sure something will happen either during the draft or before the draft or right near it to help us out.”

It was even more interesting that Manning got specific by talking up the Browns’ Braylon Edwards.

“You just see him make big plays,” Manning said. “I know last year maybe wasn’t his best year, but two years ago, he scored a lot of touchdowns. And I think you want a guy who can catch the ball and make big plays and get in the end zone.”

This interview could wind up being another monumental moment in Manning’s growth — just like his response to Tiki Barber’s criticism two seasons ago and that pretty good game against the Patriots that he played in Arizona. Remember that one?

And it might also be a turning point in the Giants’ trade talks with the Browns. Here you have your quarterback, who carefully chooses his words 100 percent of the time and never gives the media anything to turn into a juicy story, going on national TV and pretty much telling the team do something to help him out. (Again, in his own way because this is how he operates.) You wonder what would happen if the Giants didn’t get it done. I’m sure Manning wouldn’t say anything controversial publicly. But I wonder if privately he would dig his heels in big and start reminding everyone who’s the cornerstone of the franchise right now.

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