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Usually quiet Manning speaks up, reminds Giants to focus

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When Eli Manning talks, the New York Giants listen.

Making a rare mid-week address, the MVP of Super Bowl XLII told his teammates Tuesday to take care of personal business early so they can focus on preparing to play the New England Patriots in the super sequel Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.

In other words, use the next 48 hours to buy tickets for family and friends, book air fares and hotel rooms and show up Thursday ready to start practicing for the title game.

Manning seemingly was ready to go Tuesday. He had little to say about the 20 or so times the 49ers hit him or knocked him down during the Giants' 20-17 overtime win in the NFC title game Sunday in San Francisco.

Manning, 30, said he had a workout and was fine when asked about his health. He was more concerned about the Giants being ready for the rematch with Tom Brady and Co.

"I just told them a little bit how to prepare for this," said Manning, one of 15 Giants who played in Super Bowl XLII, a win over New England. "Just handle your business with tickets and get that stuff done, and just a few things on the mindset of this week. We have to have great preparation. Prepare this week like you are playing the game this week."

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Manning said the week leading up to the Super Bowl tends to throw teams off because they have to take bus rides to practice, messing up their routine. He believes the Giants will have 95 percent of their game plan practiced by Saturday, and they will be reviewing things during their week in Indianapolis.

"Once we get out there, everyone will feel good about what we are doing, and now it will continue as dress rehearsal," Manning said.

Giants punter Steve Weatherford, who's finally going to the Super Bowl after losing in the AFC title game the past two seasons with the New York Jets, appreciated Manning's message.

"Anytime he opens his mouth, it has some substance to it," Weatherford said. "He is not a guy who is going to bark a lot. He rarely talks, actually. He is a very quiet leader. It was jovial in that team meeting, but as soon as Eli got up to talk, everyone shut up because they knew it was something important. He is a veteran. He has been there before and he knows what it takes to win, and he is a Super Bowl MVP and people respect him."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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