Jeremy Shockey disappeared from the Giants soon after he suffered a broken left leg Dec. 16, choosing to stay away during the Super Bowl run. But Shockey isn’t going anywhere next season.

Despite speculation around the league, Giants General Manager Jerry Reese told Newsday Wednesday morning in an e-mail that Shockey “is our starting tight end.

” The Giants have no plans to trade Shockey as they prepare for free agency and the draft, nor are they considering ‘releasing him this offseason.

Shockey is still hobbled from Dec. 20 surgery to stabilize his ankle and fibula.

He did attend the Super Bowl 11 days ago, sitting in a suite, but he skipped all the other postseason games as well as the Giants’ victory parade in Manhattan.

“Would you make a trade for someone with a rod in his leg who can hardly walk?” one league official asked Newsday.

But the speculation has persisted, mostly because of the Giants’ success after Shockey went out with two games left in the ‘regular season.

Eli Manning’s comfort with the offense, and specifically with rookie tight end Kevin Boss, seemed to bolster the Giants’ drive to a championship, especially after Manning had miscommunications with Shockey during the second half of the season.

Shockey’s demonstrative behavior on and off the field also has been cited as a reason that Manning’s play improved after Shockey was injured against the Redskins. But even Manning dismissed such talk. During Super Bowl week, a reporter suggested that the quarterback was better without Shockey around and that Shockey’s injury was a blessing for the Giants. “That’s a stupid theory,” Manning said.

Former Giants backup quarterback Tim Hasselbeck spoke out often in the weeks after Shockey’s injury about how it was a blessing of sorts. “Guys on the team don’t like Jeremy Shockey,” Hasselbeck said on a Sirius satellite radio show the week before the Super Bowl. “They’re relieved he’s not around.”

But Shockey’s ability as a game-breaking receiver and an underrated blocker always has overshadowed his immature actions. This season he had 57 catches, three for touchdowns, slightly below his career averages. He was not voted to a fifth straight Pro Bowl, but he did contribute to the Giants having the fourth-best rushing offense in the league.

Shockey is due to earn $2.225 million in salary next season, with a $2.4-million reporting bonus. If he were to be released and designated a post-June 1 cut, the Giants reportedly would take a $3.5-million cap hit.

The five-year, $26-million extension Shockey signed in 2005 is very reasonable now, so releasing him makes little sense.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service

AP-NY-02-13-08 2011EST

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