Q: Can you even imagine what training camp is like now that you’re an established player as opposed to what happened when you first got here?
A: I guess so. Can’t really imagine until I get out there, but I’m going to treat it just like I did my rookie year, go out there and play football, compete every day, get guys better, get myself better, and just treat it like any other training camp.
Q: These are the fields where you made your name. Is it nostalgic to get back out there?
A: Yeah, definitely. I’m excited to see the field again. I’m excited to see some of the areas where I was making some plays and stuff like that, but I’m just glad to be back out here. It’s definitely nostalgic being up here with the guys, and you know some of the guys that I shared those times with my rookie season are still here so I can talk to them, and I’ve been talking to them. It’s going to be fun.
Q: Could you talk about the difference of you coming to camp a couple years ago, you’re driving a different car, you’ve got the nice Audi now. Can you talk about the differences this year considering the success you’ve had so far?
A: It’s a little different. I mean, it’s up here, you know I’m not as nervous as I was the first time, not knowing if I was going to make the team, or what was going to happen. You know you never know what’s going to happen when you come up as a rookie free agent, but this year it’s a little more calming to come up and continue to fine-tune my skills, and just get better every day and keep competing, because that’s what I did every year leading up to this point, so that’s what I want to continue to do.
Q: How do you fight off the complacency of it all? You achieved a lot last year. How do you not rest on your laurels?
A: Just understanding that there’s a lot more to accomplish. There is a lot more of my career to accomplish. A lot more for us as a team to accomplish. We’re relatively young, and we understand that our time is now. We want to continue to keep that pressure on ourselves, to keep winning, keep performing at a high level. Our teammates do a good job of keeping everybody humble.
Q: Your smiling face is everywhere, you’re in the spotlight, you’re on the best-sellers list as an author as well. How does your approach change right now?
A: It doesn’t change at all for me. I think I’ve got to keep going the same way I’ve been doing. Remain myself. Stay humble. Ready to work. Stay ready to receive information, ready to learn from the coaches. Continue every day as I’ve been going, it’s been a blessing to reach this point, to be a New York Times Best-seller, to be a Super Bowl champion. It’s just a blessing, I can’t change anything now.
Q: Guys are going to be looking at you now to be a bit of a leader, too.
A: Yeah, I guess so. It kind of comes naturally with the position. I’m all for it. I’m all for helping guys out. I’m all for being an example for the younger guys. Teaching them the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ of the NFL from what I know thus far in my career. We’ll see how it goes. We’ve got some good rookies, we’ve got some good young guys on our team, some level-headed guys, so I think we’ll be quite alright.
Q: Going in as a marked man this year will be quite different than going in as an unknown…
A: Yes, quite different. I understand that teams are going to be probably paying a little more attention my way, but that all comes with the territory. I’ve understood that. Myself and the coaching staff will do the necessary changes once the opportunity comes about.
Q: With no Hakeem, with no Mario, do you maybe have to take on more of a role mentorship role with the young guys?
A: I guess so. I’m not trying to go out there and be the godfather of the receivers or anything like that. Just go out there and be myself. If those guys have any questions, or if they have anything that they’re struggling with, or want to come to me about, I’m more than willing to help them, but I don’t want to be reaching out, or overly exerting myself. If it’s just them, I’m going to be a natural leader, let my play on the field show that. If those guys come to me and just want advice, or just want to talk about what it’s like being in an NFL training camp, and stuff like that, I’m here for them.
Q: After the craziness of the last few months, is it good to get back to football?
A: Yeah, it’s good to get back. It’s good to be back with my teammates. It’s good to be back playing some football; the madness kind of dies down a little bit. It’s definitely good to be back, man. I miss these guys, I miss being out here. I miss the good times and the stories, and I’m sure we’ll have more after this training camp. I’m excited.
Q: What tone do you expect Tom Coughlin to set today?
A: An assertive one. One that…we understand we’re here to work. It’s not just another walk in the park for us. It’s a new season; it’s a new energy that we have to come in with. Last year is over, we won the Super Bowl, but last year is over and we want to come out with a renewed sense of energy and a renewed sense of intelligence, and go out there and play football.
Q: How easy is that? Is it just a natural momentum, having recently felt what it’s like to have that confetti on the field, and being Super Bowl champs?
A: It’s not the easiest, but I think as a team, we understand that at some point we have to cross that bridge and go on to the next season and try to do it all over again. I think all of us understand that. We’re hungry, we want to keep winning, and win another championship. We understand that in order to do that, we have to put the past behind us, and focus on right now.
Q: This is a team that seems to thrive when you have a chip on your shoulder. How can you thrive without that?
A: I think we still have that. Coming into this season nobody is picking us to win, everybody is picking us to be last in the division, and things of that nature. Surely that puts a chip on our shoulder. We want to come out and prove people wrong, like we essentially have to do every year. That chip is definitely still there, and we’re going to be working hard to knock that chip off our shoulder at the end of the year.
Q: What upsets you most about what people say?
A: Well, it doesn’t upset me. It’s just something that I see on TV, I see on SportsCenter, or different shows, it doesn’t upset me at all. It’s just something that we take with us into the season knowing that nobody is really picking us to win. They’re picking all the other teams to beat us, or finish the division on top of us. It’s just something that we carry with us every game.
Q: Why are people not picking the Giants to win?
A: I honestly don’t know. I don’t know what else we have to do, what else we have to prove. It seems like every year they doubt us, and don’t put us at the top. It is what it is, we’re going to go out and play our style of football, which is hard-nosed, grind it out, football. At the end of the year we’ll see what happens.
Q: Do you feel like you almost have to come into camp working harder this year because last year you were fighting for a spot, but now you’re going to be one of those top receivers, seeing double-teams, and people expect that kind of performance again?
A: Yeah, I’m definitely going to be working hard. I understand that it’s going to be a different type of season for me this year. I won’t be sneaking up on anybody, but I’m just going to continue to work hard. I work hard whether I’m a rookie free agent or a guy like I am now, coming off a Super Bowl. I’m going to work hard regardless and work through double-teams, and hopefully if we can simulate that somehow during these practices, if we’re really anticipating it, and we can practice on it, and get better on it during this training camp. We’ll see what happens and we’ll take it one day at a time.
Q: I know you haven’t talked publicly about your contract, but is that something you need to keep yourself motivated this year a little bit?
A: I mean essentially. I don’t need a contract to stay motivated. I just want to win, and just the thrill of winning with my team, and winning at home in New York, a place where I grew up, that’s all the motivation I need to play football, and to continue playing the sport I love so I don’t think a contract is something that will motivate me.