Manning Era begins

Eli off: Yes, we know it was only Eli Manning's first day on the job. Of course, Friday's opening day of mini-camp will in no way decide how New York's top pick pans out. However, Manning was borderline awful Friday, as he completed very few passes and fumbled some snaps during the team portion of the Giants first two practices of the Manning Era. <BR><BR>

"He had excellent huddle command," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after the morning workout.

Manning was in no way bothered by the poor start, knowing that he has a long way to go and quite some time to get there.

"I'm just trying to learn as I go," the prized rookie said.

Teammates were also supportive of Manning and said they had no concerns that he'd turn out just fine.

Camp Unhappy: The mini-camp began with the news that several Giants veterans had contacted the players' association about Coughlin's extensive off-season program. Among the complaints were that the players were required to stay longer than they're supposed to and that Coughlin calls to check in when a player misses a session.

"We've done everything the union has asked," Coughlin said. "It's a voluntary offseason program. We hope there's 100 percent attendance."

It was unknown which players contacted the NFLPA, but vets Tiki Barber, Michael Strahan, Ike Hilliard, Amani Toomer, Luke Petitgout and newcomer Carlos Emmons all vehemently denied that they were among the unhappy campers.

However, while most players said that the issue should have been handled in-house, Barber stated, "It's a player's right to do that."

Great Dayne: Ron Dayne looked slimmer than ever on Friday, prompting hope that New York will finally receive some dividends from its top pick in 2000.

"He's working very hard," Coughlin said. "He's done an outstanding job in terms of conditioning. He's proven to me that he's serious about his football. He's paid the price."

* All 87 players expected to be on hand attended, while 80 were healthy enough to work out. Among the notable sidelined players were LG Rich Seubert and DT William Joseph.

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