Steve Smith: Giants know what I can do

Updated: September 22, 2011, 9:56 AM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

Ex-New York Giants wide receiver Steve Smith told Philadelphia reporters on Wednesday that he has nothing to prove to his former team this week.

"What do I have to prove? They know exactly what I can do," Smith said at the Eagles' practice facility, less than a week before the NFC East rivals meet for their Sunday afternoon showdown at Lincoln Financial Field.

"I proved a lot in that uniform," he said. "It's time to prove something in this uniform."

"I'm still good buddies with the receivers and have high respect for the coaches," Smith added. "It's just another game for me right now."

Smith, who caught 220 passes -- including a career- and franchise single-season high 107 during his 2009 Pro Bowl campaign -- for 2,386 yards and 11 touchdowns over four seasons in New York, elected to sign with the Eagles in the offseason after visiting with the Giants and being evaluated by their doctors.

The Giants weren't sure when the free-agent Smith would return to the field after he underwent microfracture surgery on his injured knee in December, and all indications were that they didn't believe he'd be ready in time for the season opener.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said in early August that the team believed Smith wouldn't be ready to return to practice until mid-September. Coughlin also termed Smith's recovery as "a long haul" and figured the wide receiver would have to start the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list.

But Smith proved the Giants wrong after surprisingly signing a one-year offseason contract worth $2 million guaranteed in Philadelphia, rehabbing much quicker than expected and appearing in the Eagles' season opener. In two games this season, he's caught two passes for 29 yards.

"I will probably tell you the same thing that the doctors up there and probably Tom told you and that I wasn't sure that he would be able to go until probably week three or four," Eagles coach Andy Reid said in a conference call Wednesday. "I think he rehabbed faster than any of us thought or healed faster than any of us thought. Everybody is different in those areas and he is one of those guys that heals faster than people expected."

Smith had said before the Eagles played the New York Jets in a preseason game on Sept. 1 that he "didn't know what Coughlin was talking about."

Giants owner John Mara had said the team offered Smith a five-year, $35 million contract offer last season with $15 million in guaranteed money.

But Smith disputed that, saying, "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."

Mara admitted in mid-August, however, that the Giants likely wouldn't have matched the Eagles guaranteed offer to Smith.

"You have to have the courage to say that if the number goes beyond that value, you got to be able to walk away," Mara said. "In this case, coming off the injury that he came off of, they definitely paid more money than we were willing to pay. We would have liked to have had an opportunity to counter but I am not so sure that we would have even gone there because it is a serious injury."

Coughlin told Philadelphia reporters during a Wednesday conference call that he was "surprised and disappointed" when Smith signed with the Giants' rivals.

Asked why, Coughlin responded, "because he's a good football player."

It seemed as though Smith had every intention of returning to New York. He defended Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora in a June Twitter battle with Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, even tweeting McCoy a picture of an empty trophy case alongside a photo of Eli Manning holding the Super Bowl XLII trophy.

"The nerve of certain youngins running their mouth," Smith said on his Twitter page. "Please don't forget."

"Eagles have a great team as do we," Smith later tweeted. "They've had our number lately but until you win something major I don't wanna hear it. #endthelockout."

Smith said Wednesday that any issues between him and McCoy have been resolved.

"I'm not going be in the middle of all that," Smith said. "I'm going to stay away from all that, and just do my job."

Reid has been impressed with what he's seen from Smith in the short time he's had him.

"I saw a lot of Steve Smith before he came," Reid said. "He is doing a great job and has done a great job in his rehab and getting himself back. He had a couple grabs for us last week. He had played five plays for us the week before against the Rams and no catches. This week, he had a couple opportunities and took advantage of them and made a few more plays. Every week he has had a more increased workload. He has done a nice job."

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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