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Manning: No Agenda Against Toomer


 It was Eli Manning’s turn to make the promotional tours through the media center. And a few minutes ago, he took in the Gatorade “G Studio” to talk to a couple of reporters about the season, about what it’s like to be here as a spectator and about what his approach to the off-season will be.

But of course, the most pressing topic was Amani Toomer’s comments from yesterday about the coaching staff’s phasing him out toward the end of the season.

“Obviously, people are upset with how the (playoff) game turned out and we didn’t go as far as we wanted to,” Manning said when asked about Toomer’s statements. “Amani played and obviously we have a lot of young receivers. We had Steve Smith, we had these guys we tried to get in the action. They played well and made plays, so (Toomer’s) time probably did get cut some, but a lot of it wasn’t based on his performance or lack of. He’s played well for us and made big plays. And when we had three receivers in there, he was always in there. When we had just two, we kind of rotated Steve Smith in some and get a guy who’s been playing well (on the field).

“Amani’s played well, he’s played great football for the Giants for a long time, (was a) No. 1 receiver and he’s made great plays for me and bailed us out of a lot of situations. He’s a free agent and that’s just the world of football. You don’t know what’s going to go on. You hope a guy comes back, but you just know he’s been a great teammate of mine, he’s been great to play with and hopefully we can continue to play (together).”

Manning said there was no “agenda” to throw the ball away from Toomer.

“We had other guys in there also, so everybody can’t get playing time,” he said. “It’s just a matter of putting him in certain situations and you have to rotate a lot of guys in.”

That’s all Manning said about Toomer during the brief interview. Earlier, he was asked if it’s strange being here and not playing.

“Not strange. You just remember the time last year and it just sinks in – the disappointment of not being here,” he said. “It was such a fun adventure last year through the playoffs and the great memories of winning some of those games and being a part of the Super Bowl and this week of practice. But you know, it wasn’t meant to be this year. So just come down here and enjoy the week.”

Manning was asked if watching the Steelers and Cardinals prepare for Sunday’s game has motivated him to get back to the Super Bowl.

“I guess just being around here,” he said. “I try not to watch TV and see about it because you do want to be here and you get upset and disappointed about it. So I try not to torture myself by watching the news or what’s happening with the games or around the Super Bowl. It’s just kind of what can drive you more to get back to that feeling of winning one. Once you win one, it doesn’t really quench the thirst; it just drives it more. Being here puts more of that thirst and makes you want it even more the next year.”

Asked if he’s worried about the fact he might be without Toomer and Plaxico Burress next season, Manning replied, “I won’t be worried. When I get back to working out, a lot of it’s just I’ll get back to doing the things I need to do. We have players and … we’ll see what happens and who’s back. But a lot of it is just preparing myself and getting around the team in the locker room and getting our workouts done. As we get later on and after the draft when everything kind of works itself out, then we’ll start working with the other guys and figuring out where we need to go and how we can improve as a team.”

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