Bachelor returns

Jesse Palmer never really wanted to leave New York. And the Giants, especially Palmer's close friend Eli Manning, didn't want the free agent quarterback going anywhere either.

Now Palmer has the chance to win the backup job and play behind his buddy Manning after signing a two-year $1.5 million deal to stay with Big Blue.

Palmer will compete with recently-acquired Jim Miller to be team's No. 2 quarterback.

"I think the environment here is great," Palmer said Monday, as the Giants opened their offseason conditioning program. "Everybody has the right attitude. It's a first-class organization. I feel very comfortable here. I really enjoy our coaching staff. I like our playbook offensively. I love the guys here in the locker room. And I really think we're going to win a lot of football games here very soon. I think it's going to be a very exciting place to play and I want to be a part of that."

He also wanted to stay close to Manning, who has become his closest friend on the team. The two quarterbacks live in the same building a short ride from the stadium.

"Jesse was great last year helping me learn and getting comfortable with the offense," Manning said. "He's also been a good friend off the field, so I'm excited he's back. I think he wanted to be here, so I look forward to being back together and start preparing for the season."

Palmer did not play a down in the 2004 season, spending most of the season as the third quarterback behind Manning and Kurt Warner. He was active but did not play in the season finale against Dallas.

Palmer joined the team as a fourth-round draft choice from Florida in 2001. He was inactive as the third quarterback for every game his rookie season, then was elevated to the backup position and played in two games as a pro sophomore. In 2003, Palmer appeared in six games, including starts in the final three games after Kerry Collins was injured.

This has been an active offseason for Palmer. He purchased a home in Orlando, close to where his parents lived when he as at Florida. He did some charity work in his native Canada, and traveled to Mexico, Southern California and Prague. "I went to Prague by myself for five days," said Palmer, who was unable to go there during a six-week trip around Europe in 2003. "It was unbelievable. I couldn't recommend it to you more. It's a beautiful city. Everything about it was just outstanding."

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