Mario Manningham has tasted the highest of highs and the lowest of lows throughout his five year NFL career. Giants’ fans warmly recall the wideout’s clutch grab in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVI to set up the game winning scoring drive. Following his magical championship run with Big Blue in 2011, Manningham signed a two-year, $7.375 million contract to join the San Francisco 49ers.
Unfortunately things didn’t go exactly as he planned in the Bay Area.
Manningham played in just 11 games and tallied 449 receiving yards in 2012 with the 49ers before suffering a season-ending ACL and PCL tear in his left knee against the divisional rival Seattle Seahawks.
The 2013 season was just as brutal for the former Super Bowl hero as he was placed on the physically unable to perform list during the preseason and was activated in November only to go on the injured reserve just a month later.
With his knee injury holding him out of training camp this year, no timetable has been set for Manningham’s return to the field. While his ACL and PCL have been surgically repaired, New York’s wide receiver is trying to regain self-assurance before he goes full tilt.
"I know my knee is fixed it’s just confidence,” Manningham offered. “It’s me sticking my foot in the ground and going.”
“Just getting out of my breaks and knowing that I’ve had a knee injury it’s taken me a little bit of time, but every day it gets better and better.”
Now in his second stint with the Giants, Manningham is looking to create a new legacy and not rest his on laurels.
“Not really,” Manningham told reporters on whether he talks about his Super Bowl heroics with his teammates. “It seems so long ago, but it was what only two or three years ago. We need some more plays in the Super Bowl. I’m trying to get there the best way possible.”
Reunited with quarterback Eli Manning, Manningham admits that rekindling that old chemistry in a new offensive system is still a work in progress.
“Just getting back on the same page, knowing we have a new offense and knowing we’ve been away from each other for a couple years, so it takes a little time, but we’re working on it,” Manningham stated.
On reputation alone most fans would anticipate that Manningham would be a shoe in to make the 53-man roster, but with his knee problems derailing the past two seasons, the veteran pass-catcher is taking a different approach to the 2014 campaign.
“I don’t think about that,” said Manningham of his glory days in New York. “What happened is in the past. This is still a new team to me. New faces. New staff. New offense. I’m going out there like a want to make the team. I not going out there like I've already made the team or I got drafted here. I’ve got something to prove also."