- Associated Press - Thursday, August 5, 2010

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Maybe it’s time to stop referring to Steve Smith of the New York Giants as the other Steve Smith.

Sure, Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers is a four-time Pro Bowl pick who is still one of the NFL’s top receivers.

Steve Smith of the Giants doesn’t deserve second billing though, not after last season. The fourth-year receiver shattered New York’s single-season team record with 107 catches, earning his first Pro Bowl berth.

What made the emergence more impressive was that Smith stepped up with the Giants looking for someone to replace now imprisoned Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress.

Smith smiled when asked if it was time for him to stop being called the other Smith.

“That would be nice,” he said half laughing. “I want to go out there and show it again this year, just to show everybody. He’s (Carolina-Smith) had a lot of great seasons. I want to go out there and do it again.”

Smith has come to Giants‘ camp at the University at Albany as the undisputed leader of a very young receiving group that features Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks as the No. 2 and 3 targets for Eli Manning.

Manningham and Nicks are constantly picking Smith’s brain for tips, which is kind of funny.

Manningham is in his third season and is 24 years old. Nicks is in his second season and is 22.

Steve Smith is in his fourth year and is the old man at 25.

“It’s kind of weird because they are listening to me and I’m still kind of young, too,” Smith said. “It feels good.”

What Manningham and Nicks can see in Smith is his work ethic. After almost every practice, Smith seems to hang around to catch a few extra passes, to talk to the coaches or Manning or to simply work on a move, looking for perfection.

“He’s a guy who went to the Pro Bowl last year, but he’s also the first guy, one of the first guys, on the field getting extra jugs work, and staying out there and catching off the jugs after,” new receivers coach Sean Ryan said. “So I mean his work ethic, that’s a leader.”

Unlike Nicks, last year’s first-round pick, Smith isn’t a speedster. He is a polished route runner who can make defensive backs look silly with his moves.

When they are not expecting it, he can also run right past them. The other day in practice, he beat cornerback Corey Webster and safety Antrel Rolle on a deep post pattern in catching a pass from Manning.

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