By Tom Williams
New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham won’t guarantee he will be with the Super Bowl champions this spring.
The Warren Harding High graduate said Friday that he’s “75 percent” sure he’ll sign with another NFL team when free agency begins on March 15.
Friday, Manningham was celebrated at his alma mater with a plaque and key to the city presented by Warren Mayor William Franklin.
“It’s good, man, it’s good to know that my city is behind me,” the four-year NFL veteran said.
Manningham’s 38-yard over-the-shoulder catch between two defenders in the final minutes of Super Bowl 46 helped the Giants drive for the winning points in their 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots on Feb. 5.
Asked if he has an idea of what might happen, Manningham said, “Yeah,” then wisely added, “I ain’t talking about it.”
The former University of Michigan receiver suggested leaving a champion might not be that hard.
“How many times have you seen a repeat?” he said.
When the Patriots were mentioned as the last NFL team to repeat (in 2004-05), Manningham said that franchise “is a different type of breed right there, different type of coaching staff then what we [have].”
Manningham agreed that Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s skills are among the best and it’s good to have an elite quarterback behind center.
“He is, but there are a lot of good quarterbacks in this league,” Manningham said. “I just want the ball more, that’s all.”
With the Giants using Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks as their top receivers, Manningham said a new team might give him more opportunities.
“I’m ready for whatever, man, I am ready for whatever,” Manningham said before the Harding-Cleveland Heights basketball game. “If it ain’t there, it’s somewhere else.
“I want them to go back to the Super Bowl, that’s me being a team player,” said Manningham who then added that he wants to go back “with whatever team I am playing with.”
Asked if he was a Browns fan growing up, Manningham replied, “No. Next question.”
A week after the Super Bowl, Manningham and Cruz were presenters at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Their category was best rock performance and the winners were Foo Fighters whose lead singer Dave Grohl is a Warren native.
“I didn’t know [he was from Warren],” Manningham said of Grohl. “I heard that afterwards.”
Manningham said standing on the Grammy stage was nerve-wracking.
“It was worse than playing on the field,” Manningham said, “It’s been crazy, man, just crazy, “[I’ve] just been loving everything that’s been going on.
“Thank God I am in this position I am, to come back here and see everybody and show love to everybody in my hometown.”