Eli discusses Ballard shocker and LeBron

June, 15, 2012
6/15/12
2:33
PM ET


Eli Manning said he was "shocked" when the Patriots claimed his favorite tight end target, Jake Ballard, earlier this week.

"Obviously just shocked," Manning said, when asked about Ballard in an interview on "SportsCenter."

"I knew because we were going to put him on IR -- kind of just the rules of how things go before you put someone on IR who is not vested -- we had to waive him thinking no one would pick him up because of his injury and probably not being able to play this year.

"And the Patriots. of course. kind of sweep in and steal him from us."

Manning appeared on both "SportsCenter" and "Mike and Mike in the Morning" on Friday. Here are some highlights from his interviews:

I WANT IT THAT WAY: Manning pretty much flew under the radar this week at Giants minicamp, as he has for most of the offseason -- especially when compared to the amount of attention Jets QBs Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez have garnered in New York. And frankly, that's the way Manning wants it.

"I think the thing I have learned being in New York and going into my ninth year is that when they are not talking about you, it is probably a good thing, especially in the offseason," Manning said. "If there is a lot of talk, that means people are on your case."

"Usually the talk on TV and in the papers is what you are doing wrong," he added. "If you are not making the headlines, I take that as a positive thing. So it has been the way I like it and the way I want it. Just going about my business working hard getting ready for the season."

ADVICE FOR LEBRON: During an interview earlier in the morning on "Mike and Mike," Manning was asked about the criticism LeBron James faces and how the Giants quarterback was able to deflect the pressure of proving he is an elite quarterback last season.

"You can see that with LeBron and what's going on in the NBA Finals, you lose one game they are all over, they win the second game, everybody loves him," Manning said. "Each week, depending [on] every game, you are either the best or you are terrible. It is so extreme.

"The most important thing you can do is concentrate on being prepared for each game, being mentally strong, having the confidence in yourself that you are going to go out there and make all the plays, and when you are put in that position, you try to do it.”

Of course, Manning said you aren't going to come through every single time, even if he has risen to the occasion both times he has been in the Super Bowl.

"Can you do it every time?" he asked. "No, it is not going to happen. You are not going to make every single throw and you are not going to hit every shot, but you still want to have that confidence and belief that you are going to make every play possible."

SO CLOSE TO 5,000: There was one funny moment, when Manning was asked if it burned him to come so close to passing for 5,000 yards, since he finished with 4,933 last season.

"You know, it did eat at me, we kind of joke around about it," Manning said. "I got on Hakeem Nicks a little about it. Late in the season, he dropped about a 60- or 70-yard touchdown versus Washington. I said, 'Hakeem, if you catch that one pass for me, I got 5,000 yards. Thanks, you are going to have to make that up for me a little bit.' And we laughed about it."

"I am not into the stats -- throw this many yards or this many touchdowns," he added. "Try to get wins and get into the playoffs and obviously holding up that Super Bowl trophy at the end was the important thing."
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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