Shockey happy to be with new team|[07/25/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 25, 2008

JACKSON – Jeremy Shockey seemed generally relieved to be out of the New York media circus and with a team that is glad to have him.

The new New Orleans Saints tight end met with the local and New Orleans area media Thursday morning following the team’s first workout in their training camp at Millsaps College.

Shockey, a four-time pro bowler for the New York Giants, was acquired Monday in a trade for a second and a fifth round pick in the 2009 draft.

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“I was relieved. I wasn’t surprised. There were a bunch of rumors. If I had gone back to the Giants no matter what it would have been a circus,” Shockey said with a grin. “I’d have went up there if they kept me, there would have been all of the rumors if they were better off without me, this, that. The last thing I wanted to do was be a distraction. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to go to the Super Bowl. I wasn’t healthy. They did a great job. I didn’t want to be a distraction to that team. If I went, I’m a distraction. If I didn’t go, I was a distraction. It’s the same thing if I had gone up to play for the Giants. I’m just very happy to have the opportunity I have in this city and with this team.”

Shockey will give the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees another big target in the passing game. He led the Giants in receptions in 2004 and 2006. In six seasons, he has caught 371 passes for 4,228 yards and 27 TDs.

“I expect to start from ground zero. I’m a walk-on here. I’m just trying to make this team and to do the best I can to help everybody around me. Hopefully I bring everybody else’s game up to a level that Marques (Colston), Drew (Brees), Reggie (Bush). I want to help these guys play at a higher level and do as I try to do every year, which is to do the best I can,” Shockey said. “We have a great core of guys here, a great coaching staff, everyone made the conditioning workout, and everyone made the weights. It’s a little different weather from what I’m used to. Up in Albany, everyone usually does not make the conditioning test or the weights. They (the Giants) won a Super Bowl last year and they really deserved it. I’m going to miss my teammates, my coaches, the owners, everything about that organization.”

While Shockey said he will miss his Giants teammates, even former Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning, he will not miss the New York tabloids.

“I knew that question was coming out sooner or later. Actually I think my family is. They’re the ones, my mother especially that read the newspaper. I always hear about it from my brother and it doesn’t really bother me. Obviously I’d like to just concentrate on football besides looking to be a distraction, being in the paper, being out here, going over here, this city, whatever. It gets out of control a little bit. Obviously I’m happy,” Shockey said.

With the Saints, Shockey will be re-teaming with coach Sean Payton, who was the Giants’ offensive coordinator during Shockey’s rookie year. It was, statistically, the best of his career as the University of Miami product caught 74 balls for 894 yards.

“Sean drafted me. He did a great job of helping me learn to be a pro. Playing everyday in the NFL is to come to work and be ready to work. That is what he really preached. He talked a lot about paying attention to the small details. It hasn’t changed,” Shockey said.