Smith says he's playing Week 1
September, 2, 2011
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
"I'm thinking Week 1, I'm circling Week 1," Smith said when asked about his return on Thursday night.
The Giants weren't sure when Smith would be able to return to the field after he underwent microfracture knee surgery last December. All indications are they didn't believe he'd return for the season-opener.
Tom Coughlin said early last month that the team believed Smith would not be ready to return to practice for another four-to-six weeks. Coughlin also termed Smith's recovery as "a long haul."
Due in part to Smith's knee, made Smith an offer on the first day of free-agency that wideout's camp rejected.
The Eagles swooped in and signed him on August 10.
"I don't think they thought other teams were going to want me or something. I dont know," Smith said after sitting out of the Jets-Eagles preseason game Thursday. "They tried to give me that contract, or something. Who knows? But the Eagles were, they seemed more eager to have me on the team."
The Giants were upset when Smith left because they felt he and agent Ben Dogra did not give them a chance to counter the Eagles' offer.
But Smith said Thursday: "I don't think [Giants GM Jerry] Reese was as active as [Eagles' GM] Mr. [Howie] Roseman was."
Smith practiced last Saturday for the first time since undergoing microfracture knee surgery in December.
He again questioned Coughlin's belief that he had "a ways to go" before returning to the field.
"What coach Coughlin said, I didn't know what he was talking about," Smith said. "I expected to be ready, not all the way but at least (to) participate."
Last month, Giants CEO John Mara said the Giants last season offered Smith a $35 million contract offer with $15 million in guaranteed money.
Smith disputed that, saying Thursday, "If they did than how come I didn't know about it? I never heard about it. If that was the case, then you don't think I would have signed it? I'm going to say no to being the highest paid receiver and a guaranteed contract? Come on."
To Smith, a former Pro Bowler who caught 220 passes for 2,386 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Giants, Thursday's return to the New Meadowlands (now MetLife Stadium) wasn't a big deal because the Eagles were playing the Jets. Nothing to get sentimental over.
"I'm an Eagle now, I'm excited for my future and, you know, that's what it is," he said.