Giants looking for veteran to tutor Manning

Jim Miller's situation might help explain the Giants' sudden interest in Doug Flutie and other free agents.

Miller, the potential backup and tutor to second-year veteran Eli Manning, underwent surgery to repair a torn hip labrum, ESPN.com has learned. The procedure, the latest in a series of setbacks for the star-crossed 10-year veteran, might put Miller out for three to four months.

The Giants likely will be forced to either place Miller on injured reserve or reach an injury settlement with him. A decision on Miller's future with the Giants probably will be made next week.

Flutie worked out for Giants coaches and team officials Thursday. The contact was not enough, however, to get the 42-year-old quarterback to sign with the team. He agreed in principle to a deal with the Patriots.

Clearly, the Giants prefer a veteran presence behind Manning, who will enter his first training camp as the full-time starter. The other quarterbacks on the roster, Jesse Palmer and Jared Lorenzen, are far less tested than Flutie.

There are only a few other veteran quarterbacks who have not lined up jobs for the coming season, among them Vinny Testaverde, Jeff Blake, Kordell Stewart, Quincy Carter, Jeff George and Shaun King.

The Giants have spoken to Testaverde's agent to gauge whether the 41-year-old quarterback has any interest in playing in 2005. The club expects to hear back next week.

When the Giants signed Miller to a one-year, $790,000 contract in early March, it seemed like a great fit for both.

Miller, 34, hasn't thrown a pass the last two seasons; last season as a Patriot, he was the emergency (No. 3) quarterback for coach Bill Belichick. In terms of being a mentor to Manning, however, and lending a veteran presence to the Giants' depth chart, Miller figured to be an excellent addition; he possessed the demeanor and minimal ego the Giants need in their No. 2 quarterback.

Miller has battled shoulder and ankle injuries the past two years and has not appeared in a game since midway through the 2002 season with the Chicago Bears. He signed with Tampa Bay in 2003 but was released when his rehabilitation lingered well into camp, then signed with New England last summer.

Last week, Miller began to experience back pain. An examination revealed the torn hip labrum.

Miller has started in 27 of his 37 career appearances, completing 610 of 1,047 passes for 6,387 yards, with 36 touchdown passes and 31 interceptions. His best season came in 2001, when he started 13 games and led the Bears to a division title.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click hereInsider.