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Leaving Giants Has Worked Out Differently for Two 49ers

Mario Manningham thrives while Brandon Jacobs stews

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Oct 11, 2012  |  Updated 2:47 PM EDT
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San Francisco's been a treat for Manningham.

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There's no shortage of storylines leading into this week's Giants-49ers game. 

You've got the 49ers looking to pay the Giants back for the NFC Championship Game, Kyle Williams trying to wipe out memories of his two fumbles, Tom Coughlin trying to sell people on his team being unloved and Victor Cruz warning 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers not to do his own version of the salsa again this season.

That's plenty for any regular season game, but there's also a reunion between the current Giants and two former members of the team who now call San Francisco home. 

Wide receiver Mario Manningham and running back Brandon Jacobs both wanted more money than the Giants were willing to give them, a desire that led them to join up with Jim Harbaugh and company as free agents. The decision has worked out very differently for the two players. 

Manningham has gotten the spike in playing time that he desired in addition to the increased paycheck and is one of several reasons why the 49ers offense is a far more potent one than the Giants saw last season. He's earned raves from Harbaugh for his play across the board and said Wednesday that he's got this game circled on his calendar. 

"I’m going to go out there and play my butt off, plain and simple. Do I have a grudge? No," Manningham said. "But am I motivated? Yes. I’m motivated by this game. Who wouldn’t be motivated by playing their old team?"

Given the Giants' uncanny ability to find slights in the slightest words of confidence from opposing players, there's a fair chance that this winds up on some bulletin board. Seriously, though, things have worked out well for Manningham and the Giants don't seem to miss him so this qualifies as a win-win situation. 

Not so much for Jacobs. Anyone who followed his career with the Giants probably won't be surprised to hear that Jacobs is upset about something. 

Jacobs felt disrespected when the Giants wanted to pay him less money and now he's feeling disrespected by the 49ers because they haven't had him active for a game yet this season. Jacobs hurt his knee in the preseason, but insists that he's healthy now and made it clear on Wednesday that he's unhappy with the situation

"It would be different if things were different, put it that way," said Jacobs. "I don't have any thoughts on it."

Oh, but we bet you do Brandon. Lots and lots of thoughts full of colorful words and frustration and maybe even a desire to throw another helmet at someone. 

At any rate, the grass isn't any greener for Jacobs and he's showing his true colors by complaining about his role on a 4-1 team that has run for nearly 600 yards in the last two weeks without him. The Giants' running game hasn't been doing much outside of last Sunday, but it's hard to imagine they miss having such a wonderful personality in their locker room this year. 

That would make this a win-lose situation. Sunday's game will be the same thing, obviously, and at least one former Giant is going to be helping the 49ers be on the right side of that equation. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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