Collins can't shed light on future

Considering recent events, quarterback Kerry Collins' future with the Giants remains uncertain.

And count Collins among those wondering.

"We could speculate all day about what's going to happen," he said yesterday at Giants Stadium.

Nothing may be settled until the April 24 draft, and perhaps later. Either way, Collins said, "You put the team first."

The Giants hold the No. 4 selection in the upcoming draft and made an inquiry this week to San Diego about trading for the No. 1 pick, which the Chargers hold. If the Giants move up to draft first, they would almost certainly select quarterback Eli Manning.

But, considering that general manager Ernie Accorsi has also made calls to other teams to research the possibilities of trading up or down, a deal with the Chargers is hardly done.

Collins, meanwhile, has one year remaining on a contract that doesn't look like it will be extended anytime soon -- certainly not before draft decisions are made.

"If they're not completely sold on me as their quarterback, it makes sense for them to do (that)," Collins said. "I would probably do the same thing, regardless."

Collins, a Giant since 1999 and the starter since 2000, said he would have "mixed emotions" about being packaged as part of a trade. It is unlikely that Collins would -- or could -- be traded without first agreeing to extend his contract to lower his salary-cap number. His $7 million salary would be prohibitive for most teams.

The 31-year-old Collins has consistently vowed that his approach to the upcoming season will not be adversely affected by the Giants' decisions, both in the draft and regarding his extension.

"I take pride in the way I play (and) this organization has treated me very well," he said. "I've still got a lot of fight left in me. Every time I go out there I'm going to give it my best and keep the team first."

Collins got an endorsement from teammate Michael Strahan.

"Kerry's a great quarterback, there's no doubt in my mind about it," the All-Pro defensive end said. "He's a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback. He's proven that by getting us there and I definitely believe he can get us there and win it.

"He's got a lot of good years left in him. It's a shame last year we didn't protect him better and give him more opportunities."

Many Giants watched at least part of Wednesday night's debut of "The Bachelor," starring backup QB Jesse Palmer. Collins, Strahan, Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey said they'd seen at least part of the show. When Palmer arrived for his workout yesterday, several players just looked at him and laughed.

"If I hear, 'I came on the show to possibly meet the woman I'm going to spend the rest of my life with' (again), I'm going to puke," Collins said.

Strahan said he told Palmer: "You better enjoy that because about 99 percent of the guys in here are mad that they're not 'The Bachelor.'"

A restricted free-agent, Palmer received a one-year tender from the Giants, but his stint in reality TV hasn't helped his standing within the organization -- i.e., no one in the hierarchy upstairs is amused.

Accorsi wishes Palmer had spent time "watching tape" instead of taping the show. Another member of the organization said before the show debuted that he hoped TV worked out "better for (Palmer) than this has."

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