[url]http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AquqscbBnB64xxQ9WOT5OLJDubYF?slug=ap-giants-burressStill a rift between Burress and Manning?
By TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer
June 14, 2006
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Eli Manning says he has a good relationship with Plaxico Burress. His No. 1 receiver wasn't talking about it on Wednesday, turning down pleas from the Giants' public relations staff to talk to the media on the opening day of minicamp.
Burress hasn't said anything since the Giants were beaten 23-0 by the Carolina Panthers in the opening round of the playoffs.
Held without a catch, Burress waved his hands in frustration several times during the game when he felt he was open and Manning didn't get him the ball. The receiver, who was signed as a free agent last year, didn't report to the stadium the following day for a season-ending team meeting.
Burress also did not participate in voluntary workouts in the offseason, opting to train in Florida with tight end Jeremy Shockey.
"You don't have to be best friends with everybody," Manning said after a morning workout Wednesday. "As long as everybody is on the same page and has the same goal of working hard and getting better and winning games, then I think that is fine. We're lockermates. We see each other daily. We have a good relationship."
Manning said he has spoken with Burress a few times in recent weeks, addressing nothing specific. He downplayed Burress' onfield antics in the playoff game.
"He was upset. We didn't have a good game," said Manning, who was 10-for-18 for 113 yards and four interceptions against the Panthers. "Everybody on this team is competitive and wants to win and do well. A lot of people were frustrated and that's how he expressed it."
Coach Tom Coughlin said he spoke with Burress about missing the team meeting after the season ended. Coughlin would not comment on what was said.
During the morning workout on Wednesday, Manning found Burress with a pass on a slant route, and he hooked up with Shockey on a couple of plays.
Shockey showed up for the minicamp sporting a black eye. He blamed it on a training accident in Florida last week.
He also said he thought there was plenty of leadership on the team.
"The older people, like Tiki Barber and Michael Strahan, when those guys talk, those are the guys I listen to, the guys who have been here eight, nine, 10, 11 or 12 years," he said. "Those are the leaders on this team."
Center Shaun O'Hara felt too much was being made of Burress.
"We have a lot of things going on," O'Hara said. "No way on the first day of minicamp are we worried about team chemistry."
He also downplayed the absence of Burress and Shockey from the voluntary workouts, saying no one wants to work out with somebody who doesn't want to be there.
O'Hara said the players were more interested in Shockey's black eye.
"I think we were all wondering whether coach gave it to him," O'Hara said.