New York Giants' receiver Domenik Hixon went through quite the string of bad luck with the injury bug throughout the last couple of seasons. He has torn his ACL twice in the last two years, the second time coming on an acrobatic touchdown reception against the Rams last season. During his rehab he has managed to add about 20 pounds of muscle and is expected to fully recover in time for training camp. Now, after losing Mario Manningham to free agency, Hixon is looking to step in and become the third wide receiver on the roster.
Hixon has proven he can be productive in the past both as a return man and a receiver. In the 2008 season, Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride chose him as the replacement for Plaxico Burress after his famous handgun incident. In that season he hauled in 45 receptions for 633 yards, proving to be a reliable target for Eli Manning. When asked if he expects there to be any rust to deal with after missing so much time, Hixon seemed optimistic.
"I don't think so. And the reason I say it is because you're doing all that now. I'm knocking a lot of rust off now so by the time we get to our first preseason game, I don't think anything will be there."
Domenik is fully aware that the loss of Manningham won't be easy for the team to adjust to. He knows that there are other receivers on the Giants roster that will be gunning for Manningham's position as well, including rookie Rueben Randle. He was asked if he would step in and replace Manningham right away.
"Yeah, for sure. That's what I plan to do and I'm going to keep working hard day in and day out and let it be up to the coaches."
It is rare in the NFL today to see a team stick with a player through two serious injuries, but the Giants have stood by Hixon through all of his ups and downs. This comes as no surprise as the Giants are considered one of the most stand-up organizations in the league. Domenik is aware of this and is very grateful for the multiple opportunities they have given him.
"They gave me an opportunity when I got released from Denver (in 2007) and then these past two years with knee injuries they stuck with me. They could have cut me and let me be on my way and be done with me. But they didn't do that. They treated me the same and I really appreciate that."
Now Hixon knows it's his turn to give back to the Giants for the loyalty they showed him.
"I know a lot of times in the NFL loyalty isn't that big. But in this situation I really feel like I wanted to be here. They helped me out time and time again. I wanted to stay here and repay that."
If Hixon can stay healthy, he can be a nice weapon for Manning to make use of. Because of his familiarity with Manning and the offense, look for him to step in as the third receiver while rookie Rueben Randle learns the ropes. In three receiver packages Victor Cruz will likely shift to the slot receiver which allows Hixon to compliment Hakeem Nicks on the outside. Hixon will continue to rehabilitate his knee in order to be at full speed for training camp where he can build an even stronger rapport with Captain Eli Manning and the other receivers.
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