Giants' remaining receivers hear trade rumors but see big opportunity

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The veteran presence the New York Giants had at wide receiver is gone.

Plaxico Burress was released, and Amani Toomer wasn't offered another contract after 13 seasons with the team.

So nearly everyone seems to believe that the Giants will head into this weekend's NFL draft looking for a wide receiver. Everyone, that is, except the wide receivers still on the roster.

"Absolutely, we're very confident that we can do the job," two-year pro Steve Smith said after one of the team's voluntary workouts Tuesday at Giants Stadium. "We've been working very hard together. All we need is a shot, a chance to prove that we can do it.

"True, we did lose a lot of years of experience and two big-time guys in Toomer and Plax, and it was great learning from them, but we have to be ready to go, and I think we're ready to go."

Rumors continued to swirl in Giants camp that the team is interested in trading for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards. Giants general manager Jerry Reese has declined to discuss Edwards, saying "there is a lot of chatter, a lot of false reports."

Smith, who caught a team-best 57 passes for 574 yards last season playing mostly as a slot receiver, welcomes the opportunity to play full-time in the fall.

"I feel a little more seasoned this year," Smith said. "I want a bigger role, and I am excited at the chance of whatever they want me to do. I think we're all ready to show what we can do, and we're ready to step up."

Smith's name has come up in the Edwards trade rumors.

"People call you, like family and friends, and ask if you're going to get traded," Smith said. "I can't get worked up about it. I just have to be prepared for anything."

Domenik Hixon, who became a starter last season when Burress was suspended for the season after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh in a Manhattan nightclub in November, knows there's a chance Giants will address the wide receiver position before the draft.

"I've heard the rumors as well, but rumors are rumors," said Hixon, who caught 43 passes for 596 yards and two touchdowns last season. "My agent told me that I have to take it as a business and not to take it personally. I don't get paid to think about stuff like that, like who's coming in and who's going to be here. That's up to the coaching staff and the GM."

"It was good to talk to Mr. Reese and get it out in the open," Hixon said. "It was great that he came and talked to me about what was going on. I told him that I am a New York Giant and I'm glad to be a New York Giant."

Hixon also wants to be on the field for more plays.

"I think I'm ready," the four-year pro said. "I think everyone wants the chance to be the No. 1 guy. I think I'm more ready this year. I have the experience. I learned on the run.

"There were a couple plays last year that I should have made. I'm getting over it. I took it too hard when I made a mistake. I think we all live and learn by mistakes."

Hixon said all the Giants' receivers, which also include Sinorice Moss, Mario Manningham and David Tyree, are working together to prepare for the 2009 season.

"I think you can always learn from each other," Hixon said. "I think we're doing a great job of helping each other and teaching each other. I think the expectations have been raised for the whole group."

Smith said he's eager to see where the top receivers go in the draft.

"I'm going to watch the draft like anyone else," Smith said. "I'm a fan as well. I like some of the receivers that are out there, and I'm excited about them."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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