What was your initial reaction to signing that deal?
I had been wanting to get something done for a long time, so I was kind of excited to finally get there and finally get it done. I was satisfied with everything I got. It is a fair deal. I feel good about the whole thing.
When they franchised you did you know that it was going to get done or were you just hopeful that it was going to get done?
I knew it was going to get done because it is not something that the Giants usually do. They don't franchise anybody; it hadn't been done since what? '92 or something like that? I kind of figured it was done to keep other teams away and I didn't have a problem with that at all. I knew I loved to be here and they would do whatever they had to do to keep me here.
Looking ahead to free agency, what do you think this team needs to do to get back into the Super Bowl?
Number one, we have to hope Plaxico Burress gets out of all the issues he has going on there legally. If he can get out of that, we can bring him back and I think that is basically all we need, to be honest with you.
What happens if you can't bring him back? Do you think you guys need to bring in somebody else?
Oh, no question. I think we have a lot of young talent. Steve Smith is very good, we have Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon, we have Sinorice Moss, so we have a lot of explosive guys that can come out and play for you. They just have to get it in their mind locked and loaded that they are going to be the guy. They are all the guys. With Amani (Toomer) going, it is a big blow, too, but I don't think it is much of a problem that we can fill. We have a lot of young talent on our team, but you need to get 17 back.
Have you spoken to Plaxico Burress lately?
Back and forth texting, that is just about it. He is back and forth from here and Florida, so I have been texting back and forth with him.
Does he expect to be back?
Yes, he does. If he can get out of this situation that he is in, everybody prays and hopes that he doesn't go to jail, and then the sky is the limit for him. He has cleaned up, no organization problems, no off the field problems, none of that would be happening with him again. I don't see any of that happening because he knows how close he came to losing everything he has. I think his mind is right now and he is ready to get back out there and perform like he had been doing.
Have you talked to Derrick Ward since you signed the deal?
I talked to Derrick. He called me last night. He told me congratulations and he was so happy for me. We had been talking for a long time about money and so on and so forth and it has finally happened for me and his time is coming. I said just keep doing what you are doing and make sure you have some good people working for you and make sure you get every dollar you deserve.
Is there any way you expect to see him back with the Giants this season?
With the nature of the business, I don't expect to see him back, but with the way things can go I think they are going to take a crack at him, no question, I think they are going to give it a shot. I don't know what he is asking for, I don't know what he wants, that all depends on him and what he is asking for. If it is fair, they may be able to or if they can do it, they may do it, but if they can't do it, they can't do it. I would love to see him back here.
Do you think the economic recession had any effect on your contract and what do you think in general of the economic conditions?
Well, I don't know whether or not the economic recession played a part in getting my deal done. Quite honestly, Giants Stadium is full for years to come, recession or not. The tickets are paid for already, but I don't know if jerseys are being sold more and more and more every day. I don't know how much of a role that played in this business.
Was this deal all that you wanted when you got into this or did you compromise a little bit at the end to get this deal done?
Yeah, definitely. I just wanted to get it over with and have it not be hanging around. I didn't miss out on that much though. I kind of got everything I wanted guaranteed, so I didn't really miss out on that much on the back end. A couple dollars here and there, but it was fine.
This deal runs until you are 30. Do you see another deal in your future?
Well with the mentality of a football player as you get older you get everything you can get while you are young and when your first two contracts are over with that you play under with the first and second contract, if you are in good enough shape and your body is good enough and holding up well enough you can go and do it and be a starter and do all those things. If not, you lower your standards and you play special teams and do stuff like short yardage and goal line and things like that. I am going to hang around for at least another six years.
Six years you said?
Yeah I am going to hang around for another six years. I don't know where the last two are going to be, but I am happy to get these four here.
In your conversations with Plaxico do you get the sense that he wants to come back to the Giants?
Yes, he does. First of all, the guy has issues to clean up and that is number one, but yes, he does. He knows we have a championship team and he is a big part of it. I think he wants to. He never said to me that he didn't and he knew that he could if he had to. We are close enough that he can tell me what is on his mind, but he never mentioned any of that to me.
How are your knee injuries recovering?
My knee injuries are no more. They are recovered and everything is fine. I am ready to go.