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Giants: Manning makes strides


Giants rookie quarterback Eli Manning says he's making progress and feeling more comfortable during his first full week of off-season workouts.

"It's good now because I've run plays 10 or 20 times, so you get a better feel," Manning said yesterday at Giants Stadium. "You know what you're doing and that's when things kind of come naturally."

Manning had an uneven first minicamp two weeks ago. Wide receiver Ike Hilliard said Manning has seemed "more comfortable" this week.

"That's only to be expected," Hilliard said. "He was drafted first overall. He's got to be able to play."

Manning has never met Kurt Warner but knows there is a real possibility the Giants will sign the two-time MVP after his June 1 release from the Rams. Warner, who has been excused from the Rams' ongoing minicamp, visited the Giants last week.

"If they bring in Kurt Warner, that would be what they think would be best for this team. He'd be a guy I could learn from," Manning said. "... Either way I'm going to compete. I'm going to prepare as if I'm going to be the guy who's going to play on Sunday, whether I'm coming in or starting.

"It's not my decision, but I'm going to compete and work hard and prepare the same way no matter what happens."

On a more humorous note, Manning got lost driving in New Jersey for the first time from his Secaucus hotel to Giants Stadium. He laughs about it now.

"I kind of knew I would get lost," Manning said. "I figured it would help me find some places. I found some areas where a grocery store is, a gas station is. Simple things."

A young man at a softball field gave him directions back to the hotel and now he knows where to stop for snacks and gas.

Backup QB

Jesse Palmer's stint as "The Bachelor" has provided considerable entertainment in the locker room this spring. In his final decision, Palmer chose Jessica over Tara on Wednesday night, leaving teammates abuzz.

"Tara was hotter!" a couple of offensive linemen yelled as they passed Palmer's locker.

Palmer's future with the Giants is far from certain. Ryan Van Dyke, who is having a fine NFL Europe season, might be a likelier choice as the third QB. Rookie free agent Jared Lorenzen is also on the roster.

The Giants also acquired QB Kurt Kittner on waivers yesterday. The former Falcon, whose only career victory came against the Giants last season, was released by Atlanta last month and by the Bengals on May 10.

RB Tiki Barber,

who joins DE Michael Strahan as co-reps to the union, has spoken to executive vice president/COO John Mara about the complaints made to the NFL Players Association concerning the off-season workout program. Barber said neither he nor Mara is "overly concerned."

Asked if he believes the Giants will be punished -- the penalty would be a loss of a week of passing camp next month -- Barber said, "I don't think it's going to happen. I don't know. We'll see."

An announcement isn't expected until late next week.

The Giants have signed

WRs James McKnight and JaJuan Dawson, S Jason Doering and DT Glen Steele -- all veteran free agents -- and rookie RB Jermaine Green.

McKnight, an 11-year veteran who turns 32 next month, scored on a 68-yard end-around for the Dolphins against the Giants last season. Miami cut him March 2.

To clear roster space, the Giants released S Clarence LeBlanc, QB Kevin Thompson and three rookie free agents: LB Lewis Moore, TE Beau Fullerton and RB Keylon Kincade. WR Ryan Hoag was waived/injured.

Veteran DT Dana Stubblefield visited and was given a physical, but that seems to be the extent of the team's interest right now.


Backup QB Anthony Wright will undergo surgery on his right shoulder next week, a procedure that could force him to miss most of the season.

Also, the Ravens reached agreement on a one-year deal with CB Dale Carter, a four-time Pro Bowler who was released by the New Orleans Saints in March.

With Wright out, the two quarterbacks behind starter Kyle Boller are rookies -- sixth-round pick Josh Harris and undrafted free agent Brian Gaither.

"We've already spoken with some agents who represent quarterbacks, and we'll look at those who might be released after June 1," GM Ozzie Newsome said.


Backup QB David Garrard will have surgery next week to alleviate symptoms of Crohn's disease and hopes to be back in time for training camp. Garrard, 26, will have diseased tissue removed from where his colon meets his small intestine. He hopes to be ready for training camp in late July or early August.


The death of the son of Green Bay assistant coach Ray Sherman was ruled an accident by a judge. Ray Sherman II, 14, died a year ago after shooting himself in the head with his father's pistol in the family garage.

An interim medical examiner ruled the death a suicide. In November, he changed his ruling to "undetermined" because Sherman displayed no signs of wanting to hurt himself.

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