Eli's coming? Maybe

Turned out to be an interesting Wednesday evening for Kerry Collins, who watched his understudy, Jesse Palmer, stumble through his first episode of "The Bachelor."

While delving in so-called reality TV, Collins again had to face his own reality: The Giants may be seeking his replacement at quarterback. He heard the report that general manager Ernie Accorsi has talked to the San Diego Chargers about trading up from No. 4 to the first pick in the NFL draft to secure Mississippi's Eli Manning.

"You would think they'd probably do that anyway," Collins said Thursday of the Giants' interest in the first pick, trumpeted on the Chargers' Web site, then confirmed, with modifications, by Accorsi. "But maybe that says something, I don't know. I'd love to speculate, but we could speculate all day long on what might happen."

While Accorsi admitted to talking with San Diego general manager A.J. Smith, he added that he's also talked with one of the two other teams ahead of the Giants in the drafting order (presumably Arizona) as well as one team behind them (probably Detroit or Cleveland). The Giants, he said, continue to look at all options, including sitting tight at No. 4.

It was unusual for Smith to mention Accorsi by name in revealing that he received the initial call regarding the first selection. The story posted on the team's Web site may have been an effort by the Chargers to drum up more interest in the pick, a declaration the store is open for business, come place your order.

At any rate, uncertainty continues to surround Collins since the Giants apparently have tabled talks on his contract extension until after the draft, a move the quarterback concedes makes sense. With one year left on his contract, the 10-year veteran could be out on the free agent market after this season, particularly if the Giants draft Manning or Ben Roethlisberger as his replacement.

"In a situation like that, you put the team first," Collins said. "I know there will be a time where I'll have some freedom to make some choices and decisions. You don't want to just get through it, either. I take pride in the way I play.

"This organization has treated me very well. I have a lot of fight left in me. Anytime I go out there, I'm going to give it my best."

Regarding Palmer's debut as "The Bachelor," Collins said, "If I hear one more time 'I've come on this show to meet the girl I'll spend the rest of my life with,' I'm going to puke."

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