Mario Manningham returns to the New York Giants for the 2014 season. The question is whether Manningham can still be the same dynamic player he was before leaving for the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent, or if his injury-ravaged left knee has made him just a shell of what he once was. Let's take a closer look at Manningham as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.
2013 Season In Review
Manningham returned too quickly following knee surgery, and was unproductive. He caught just nine passes for 85 yards in six games, and finished a second consecutive season on injured reserve. The 49ers showed little interest in keeping him.
2014 Season Outlook
To put it in weather parlance, the forecast for Manningham is cloudy. After re-signing with the Giants during the offseason, Manningham could return and grab a place as a valuable third, fourth or fifth wide receiver. Or, Manningham's troublesome knee could limit him or even keep him from playing at all.
Manningham, set back after returning too quickly last season, had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in January. He was unable to participate in any of the Giants' offseason work. Manningham, 28, says he is "going to be alright when camp starts." The Giants are not as certain, with head coach Tom Coughlin saying only "hopefully he'll be OK for camp."
Manningham tore the ACL and PCL in his left knee after 12 games with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. He really has not been right since.
"There was a serious procedure, so he's still coming back. He played a little bit and didn't help himself," Coughlin said.
Manningham caught 42 passes in those 12 games with the 49ers, and Coughlin said "they (the 49ers) were a better team with him on the field, believe me. Two years ago before he got hurt, he made a big difference with them."
Can Manningham still be a difference-maker? He was with the Giants from 2009-2011, catching 156 regular-season passes and making one memorable grab in the 2011 Super Bowl to help the Giants win. Even if Manningham gets healthy enough to play, the question will be whether or not he still has the speed and quickness that made him dangerous.
"I had injuries, I'm going to deal with it but I'm going to do what I have to do to come back like I left," Manningham said.
The Giants certainly will be a more dangerous offensive team if he can.