This Cane is Able

By the time Sinorice Moss walked onto a football field genetics had already played its first practical joke. At that point there was nothing he could do but adapt and make the best of it.

You are what you are.

"When I got to high school a lot people said I was small for my size and the position I played, but it really didn't bother me," Moss said. "I have a big heart. I went out there and made plays to the best of my ability. That [passion] never stopped because I was shorter than other people. And I was 5-6, about 165 pounds. I was really small."

Of course, there was also one other matter. Sinorice Moss was also the younger brother of Santana Moss, the former No. 1 draft pick of the Jets and current Redskins star, and one of the greatest receivers in the history of the University of Miami.

Santana's 2,546 receiving yards, 1,196 punt return yards and 4,394 all-purpose yards are still the most in school history. He was an All-American as a receiver and return specialist in his senior year, finishing seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting after becoming the first Big East player to be named the league's offensive player of the year and special teams player of the year in the same season.

And so the whispers began: Sinorice Moss, this little guy, had some big shoes to fill.

"My brother's had a tremendous influence on everything I've done in my career," Sinorice Moss said. "It doesn't bother me that people compare me to him. I understand it happens, just like everyone else who has a brother in the league that plays the same position. All I can say is watch me when I'm on the field."

When Sinorice decided to follow his brother to Miami the urge to compare grew stronger. And the situation wasn't helped when injuries basically wiped out his first two seasons with the Hurricanes. Sinorice played his freshman season in 2002 with torn ligaments in his left ankle and caught only three passes. Then ligament damage in his left knee limited him to eight receptions as a sophomore.

It wasn't until he submitted to corrective offseason surgery before his junior season that Sinorice began to make an impact. But once he started there was no holding him back. He didn't become a full-time starter until he was a senior, but he'd begun to become productive long before, scoring a game-tying touchdown on a 30-yard catch-and-run with 30 seconds left against Florida State in the first game of his junior season in 2004.

That explosiveness is what attracted NFL scouts to him, even though his senior year at Miami – 37 receptions for 614 yards and six touchdowns – wasn't particularly captivating statistically.

During Senior Bowl week, Giants coach Tom Coughlin focused in on Moss. And when the Giants decided to trade up in the second round to take Moss [with the 44th pick] his mind drifted back to what had impressed him.

"He was so much quicker and so much faster and so much more electric in the practices," Coughlin said. "I think he will give us a nice jolt regardless of whether you talk about him on the outside or in the slot."

Now the Giants believe they have the type of weapon who can effectively compliment their lanky receiving corps – Amani Toomer, Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey.

"I feel like I can fit in right now as the slot receiver," Moss said. "It's going to be awesome helping Amani and Plaxico stretch the field and work with Eli Manning."

The Giants have been looking for a slot receiver with the ability to escape tacklers. They thought they might have had it in another Miami product, Daryl Jones, but he caught only eight passes in one season (2002).

Moss, who will wear the No. 89 his brother has distinguished during his career, may also eventually help the Giants as a return specialist. He wasn't needed in that capacity at Miami because of Devin Hester, one of the nation's top kick returners.

But of all the Giants draft picks it is Moss who most likely will make the most immediate impact in 2006.

"I think he can play on Sunday," Santana Moss said last season. "Just because of who he is and what he brings to the game. I'm not saying that because he's a Moss; I'm saying it because of what kind of person he is. He's a motivated person and he always had to deal with being under me and it brought the best out of him, and I didn't see that when we were younger."

Santana and Sinorice, who is four-and-a-half years younger, used to race each other through the streets of Miami, where they grew up. The older brother would give the younger a head start before blowing him away. But the gap appears to have finally closed.

"We thought this guy could present a different look to defenses," Coughlin said. "We have some big targets. We have some speed as well. This guy [Moss] gives us another dimension in terms of his quickness. That's something that has to be considered [by defenses]. How are they going to defend, whether he's in the slot or on the outside. The idea is to present a little different look and some more for them to have to plan on defending knowing full well what his quickness and speed brings."

And Moss is ready for the chance to make his mark, too.

"I feel like I am a fast learner once I get into things, am able to do it in practice and watch in on film," Moss said. "I feel like I can learn the system pretty fast.

"Watch me when I come on the field. I am not trying to be as good as my brother, I am trying to be as good as I can be. That is what I am going to go out there and do."

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