When wide receiver Mario Manningham slipped to the Giants with the last pick in the third round of the 2008 NFL draft, many considered it a steal. But after a miserable rookie season, the former Michigan Wolverine has to show he belongs on an elite, contending Giants squad.
"I'm playing with a chip on my shoulder," Manningham told the Ohio Tribune Chronicle (Warren, Ohio), his hometown paper. "I have a lot to prove. I want to show what I can do. You know how people can talk. They say, 'Is he this or is he that?' I know what I can do, and my team knows what I can do. Now it's time for me to go out and play and show the world what I can do."
Manningham hauled in just four receptions for a mere 26 yards in seven games last season. But he sees 2008 as a learning experience and says he’s now ready to earn playing time on a roster that boasts veterans like Domenik Hixon, Steve Smith and Sinorice Moss.
"People forgot that I had another year [of college eligibility]," Manningham told the Chronicle. "I'm thankful that I had a chance to sit back and watch how they read defenses from the sideline. How they read the corner and his stance and everything. Those are old-school tips from the vets."
Now it's time for Super Mario to prove the critics wrong.
"The criticism from last year, I actually kind of liked it," he said. "I like when people doubt me and say this and that because I know what I can do. I hate when people say they know what they're talking about when they really don't know too much."