He doesn’t talk of improving his hands, or honing his ability to separate from defenders. He doesn’t discuss getting stronger, or mention getting faster.
No, ask Ramses Barden what his goal is this season, and the Giants receiver delivers a simple answer: “I’m here to be the man.”
“Plain and simple,” he adds. “There’s no explanation needed.”
It’s a goal that the Giants would love to see Barden achieve. The team had high aspirations when Barden was drafted in the third round in 2009, but so far the king-sized wideout has only disappointed, with just 15 career catches.
Yet when training camp opens in Albany next month, Barden will have perhaps his best and maybe his last chance to turn around his stalled career. Mario Manningham’s decision to sign with the 49ers has left the Giants searching for a new No. 3 receiver.
The 6-6 Barden will battle veteran Domenik Hixon, second-year man Jerrel Jernigan and hyped second-round pick Rueben Randle for the role behind Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. It will be a lengthy audition, too, especially if Nicks, as expected, rests his broken foot for most of training camp.