ALBANY, N.J. (AP) -Manny Wright talked about playing football for the New York Giants. He had a smile on his face and not a tear in his eye.
As a rookie two years ago, he cried on the field after being scolded by then-Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban. A lot has changed in Wright's life.
The 340-pound defensive tackle who seemed overwhelmed making the jump from Southern California has learned to approach football in the NFL as a job. He has gotten his head straightened out, worked hard and gotten into his best shape in years.
The goal now is to win a job with the Giants, who signed him Wednesday to add size after the Carolina Panthers chewed up the line in the preseason opener.
``I don't feel like this is my last chance but I feel like it's getting toward that,'' Wright said Thursday between practices at University at Albany. ``It's either now or never. I have to keep doing what I am doing.''
If there was rock bottom for Wright, it probably wasn't the crying episode. It happened three months ago after the Dolphins released him and the Buffalo Bills signed him.
Wright reported to the Bills weighing 365 pounds. They dumped him less than a week later.
``I was only up there for four days and they were like, 'Oh, he's too big,''' Wright said. ``I can't rely on my talent like that. All of the other guys are moving faster and I am big and strong. I just figured I had to get into better shape.''
So Wright returned to Long Beach, Calif., and started sweating. He worked out twice a day and did extra cardiovascular work at night, shedding 25 pounds.
``This is the best (shape) I have been in a long time,'' Wright said. ``I feel really good, I feel really confident.''
Wright said most people in Miami forgot about the crying when he played well in the final three games of the 2005 season.
That didn't make his problems go away. He had a weight problem in training camp in 2006 and left the team. Miami placed him on the nonfootball injury list, then released him this May.
Wright would not elaborate on his problems in 2006, although he acknowledged problems at home..
``I had a lot going on and I mean, I was only 22 and it overwhelmed me,'' he said. ``I am better now and I have my head on straight.''
Wright denied that he was depressed in 2006.
``I am just going to prove a lot of people wrong by playing really well and contributing to this team,'' Wright said.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said the team did a lot of research on Wright. General manager Jerry Reese had a good talk with him and Coughlin spoke to him on the field after he worked out.
``You can see the athletic flashes that he showed yesterday,'' Reese said. ``I don't think he's in awful shape, but I don't think he's in top condition, either.''
Wright hopes to get down to 335, what he weighed with the Dolphins. After two workouts he doesn't feel that far behind. He said he might be able to play Sunday against Baltimore.
``I am really motivated,'' he said. ``That is why I was getting up early in the morning working out extra. I mean, I am motivated. I see a lot of guys on the TV and I am like OK, I am better than him. I got my motor running.''
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