EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (May 9, 2007) -- Giants quarterback Eli Manning got one of his offseason wishes -- receiver Plaxico Burress showed up for voluntary conditioning.
"I'm not trying to make a statement," Burress said after catching passes from Manning. "I want us to be better, and I want him to reach his full potential, which I think would be great. I want to help him out. We're here, we're willing to work."
Tight end Jeremy Shockey, however, is doing his conditioning in Florida. Burress worked out in Florida with Shockey the past two offseasons despite pleas from Manning to attend the voluntary workouts at Giants Stadium.
Burress caught 63 passes for a career-high 10 touchdowns last season. He intends to remain for the rest of the workouts.
"We're just trying to get better on the football field," he said. "This is something that can help us. Talk on the phone two, three times a week, go out and get something to eat. Those are some of the things that can help us get things going. And if we're working, we can get on the football field also."
Burress plans to phone Shockey in the next few days. The two worked out recently in Florida, running on the beach.
"Jeremy's his own guy," Burress said. "I love him to death as a person and a football player. I talked to him, and I'm pretty sure he's looking forward to being back."
It's uncertain whether Shockey, who caught a team-high 66 passes last season, will attend the voluntary workouts. The Giants have a mandatory minicamp next month.
"Right now, it's pretty much one of those things where I'm trying to get in the right place at the right time," said Burress, who is entering his eighth season. "That's what's important for us. We understand the game. We know how to play the game. It's just a matter of us all being on the same page."
There have been times when Burress and Shockey seemed at odds with Manning. Both players have flapped their arms in frustration when Manning has thrown in another direction.
Burress now says he is willing to do anything to help both Manning and the Giants get better after an 8-8 season in which New York was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
"If it means coming back to work with my quarterback to get to the next level, I'm willing to do that," Burress said. "I believe I can be that person. And I want to help my team. We all want to reach that level, but it's going to take an awful lot of hard work."