Feb 152015
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Cullen Jenkins, New York Giants (December 14, 2014)

Cullen Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Contract Re-Structure for New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins: According to OverTheCap.com, the New York Giants and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins have agreed to a contract re-structure. According to NFL Players Association (NFLPA) records, Jenkins’ 2015 salary was reduced from $2.2 million to $1 million. OverTheCap.com says the re-structure will create $825,000 in additional cap space for the team.

In 2014, Jenkins was troubled by a calf injury, missed four games, and had a sub-par season, finishing with only 16 tackles and one sack in 12 games with 11 starts.

Article on New York Giants Recovering from Injuries: Giants offseason injury updates: Victor Cruz, Cooper Taylor, Geoff Schwartz and more by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: Giants hoping they can make another pick like Odell Beckham Jr. by Tom Rock of Newsday

Giants.com Feature on Players: Video features on the following players are available at Giants.com:

Feb 122015
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Terrell Thomas, New York Giants (November 10, 2013)

Terrell Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Former New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas has announced his retirement from the NFL. Thomas was originally drafted in the second-round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Giants. The 30-year old Thomas played four seasons with the Giants (2008-2010 and 2013) but missed the 2011 and 2012 seasons after tearing and then re-tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee before each season, the first time in a preseason game and the second time in a training camp practice. Thomas had also torn the right ACL in college.

Thomas returned to play for the Giants in 2013, playing in all 16 games with seven starts, finishing the season with 67 tackles, one sack, seven pass defenses, one interception, and one forced fumble. However, the Giants chose not to re-sign him as an unrestricted free agent during the 2014 offseason. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks in July but did not make the team.

Thomas finished his NFL career by playing in 60 regular-season games with 40 starts with the Giants. He accrued 298 tackles, three sacks, 45 pass defenses, 12 interceptions, and seven forced fumbles during that time frame.

Terrell Thomas, New York Giants (October 6, 2013)

Terrell Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“Terrell was smart and tough and a very good player,” said General Manager Jerry Reese in the team’s press release. “He quickly became a ‘pro’s pro’ during his time with the Giants.”

“Terrell was a very unique defensive corner,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He had outstanding cover skills, he was physical and would tackle and you could blitz him from the outside. He was a very smart player and devoted to the game. He took great pride in being a physical corner, and frankly, before the injuries, we thought we had a very good corner for a long time.”

“I had no idea (the last game I would play would be on December 29, 2013 as a New York Giant),” Thomas said. “I thought I had two more years. I thought I was about to be a top free agent and continue my career for two more years and show God’s grace. But He had a different plan for me.

“I thought I was going to have an active free agency. The number one thing was the doctors would not approve my knee. Every team, G.M., coaches, they loved me and wanted me, and thought I had a great year after coming back from all the ACL injuries. They thought that I would be better last year. But the doctors wouldn’t approve me.

“Knowing the game of football, being 29 with three ACL (injuries), I just figured my time is short. I can keep chasing a dream, but I was blessed to be able to come back and play that one year. To be able to show my family and fans, my daughter and myself that I worked hard enough to overcome some significant injuries and I became the second player in NFL history to come back from three ACLs. I didn’t play with a brace. I am proud of my accomplishments. I have been through a lot and I overcame it. I am a smart dude and I am not going to chase football. Football is not chasing me. I feel like my time is over. I was blessed enough to play six years in the NFL. I lived my dream, and now it is time for the next chapter of my life.

“(The injuries) hopefully (are) not going to haunt me til my days end, but that is just life. That is probably the hardest part that I had to deal with, that I was on the verge of being a very great player. The Giants, coach (former Cornerbacks Coach Peter) Giunta, coach (Safeties Coach David) Merritt, (former Defensive Coordinator) Perry Fewell, and Tom Coughlin really instilled confidence in me and made me believe in myself and really brought out the best of me as a football player. I just felt like I left something out there. I felt that I had a lot to prove for myself and the organization. I am so thankful for the opportunity that they gave me. When I realized the time was over, I always wanted to retire a Giant. Once you are a Giant, you are always a Giant. I was just so grateful for the organization, for one, drafting me and for two, sticking with and believing in me all those years. Because if I was with any other organization, I don’t think I would have had the chance to come back in 2013.

“What means the most to me about my time with the Giants is the man I became. Growing up a California kid and moving all the way to New York, 3,000 miles away, and coming to an organization with so much class and integrity and having a head coach who really taught me about morals and values and being a man of your word, I will never forget that. Being five minutes early and how important it is, and how you come to work and the preparation that you put in is what you get out. We had some great coaches there, some great years. I won a Super Bowl. My first year, I was an NFC East champion. I led the team in tackles. I had some really great years in New York. I learned a lot about myself. Just being a Giant. I had some great teammates.

“The biggest thing is what the organization taught me. Coach Coughlin taught me about integrity and doing what you say you are going to do. It goes a long way in life, and I think that has really prepared me for my next chapter in life. That is why I am so honored to retire a Giant, more importantly, why I wanted to. I felt like I owed them something, and I am just thankful for the opportunity they allowed me. It was a tough decision that I had to make, but I just feel that it was the right one. I realized that I was lucky enough to play six years and lucky enough to come back after two ACLs and a micro-fracture when everyone doubted me, and even when I doubted myself. I am thankful for the opportunity the Giants gave me. I am thankful that I can walk away healthy and say I accomplished some things. I feel like God has something else for me that is way more important than football, and I am really looking forward to that.”

Feb 112015
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David Wilson, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

David Wilson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York  Giants Waive RB David Wilson: The New York Giants have waived running back David Wilson, the team’s first-round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Wilson suffered a season-ending neck injury in Week 5 of the 2013 NFL season in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He re-injured the neck on July 29, 2014 during training camp. Soon after a joint decision by Wilson and the Giants was made that it would be best for Wilson to retire from football. Wilson was officially placed on Injured Reserve a second time in August 2014.

New York Giants Officially Sign Center Brett Jones: Following up on yesterday’s update, the Giants have indeed officially signed Canadian Football League (CFL) offensive center Brett Jones. The 23-year old Jones has played center for the Calgary Stampeders for the past two seasons. He was named the CFL’s top rookie in 2013 and top offensive lineman in 2014.

“It has always been a goal and a dream of mine to play in the NFL,” said Jones in the team’s press release. “This is the first step, and I look forward to taking many more.

“When I was in university in Canada, my goal was always to try to play in the NFL. As a kid growing up playing games like Madden, it definitely was an influence. Some of the players on my team (in the video game) that I played with, they play in the NFL now. I always thought that I wanted to earn a chance.

“I am coming from the Canadian style, where (the defensive line is) one yard off the ball. I know that there is going to be a learning curve to that… Hopefully my pro experience will help me, but I understand there is going to be a learning curve and I look forward to that.”

Article on OC Brett Jones: Newest Giant Brett Jones’ former CFL teammates and position coach call him an ‘offensive coordinator’ on the field by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning’s Giants future: fat new contract or lame duck? by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on DT Cullen Jenkins: Know Your Giants: DT Cullen Jenkins by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Feb 102015
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Brett Jones, Calgary Stampeders (June 26, 2014)

Brett Jones – © USA TODAY Sports Images

According to various press reports, the New York Giants will sign Canadian Football League (CFL) offensive lineman Brett Jones. The 23-year old Jones has played center for the Calgary Stampeders for the past two seasons. He was named the CFL’s top rookie in 2013 and top offensive lineman in 2014.

Jones reportedly has worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The New York Daily News is reporting that Jones will visit with the Giants on Tuesday night and take a physical with the team on Wednesday.

Jones is 6’2”, 318 pounds and considered smart, tough, and athletic. He could also be an option at guard in addition to center for New York.

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Rashad Jennings’ incredible journey to the NFL by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Giants.com Feature on Players: Video features on the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • DT Jay Bromley (Video)
  • CB Jayron Hosley (Video)
Feb 072015
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Jason Pierre-Paul’s Contract Voided: The New York Daily News is reporting that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s rookie contract was voided on Friday. This expected move means Pierre-Paul will become an unrestricted free agent in March unless the Giants protect him with a Transition or Franchise tag. The Daily News is reporting that the expected Franchise tag number for defensive ends is expected to be approximately $15 million.

Other clubs are allowed to begin negotiating with free agents on March 7 and teams can officially sign another team’s free agents on March 10. Teams can designate Transition or Franchise players any time between February 16 and March 2.

“We would certainly like (Pierre-Paul) back, but it would have to be at the right price, something that makes sense for us,” said Giants President and CEO John Mara on December 30. “He certainly had a great finish to the season and showed the type of player that he can be and that he will be going forward. I would be very surprised if he was not a Giant next year.”

Pierre-Paul just turned 26 last month and his best football could still be in front of him. But he has had difficulty recapturing his tremendous productivity from his sophomore NFL season in 2011 when he accrued 86 tackles and 16.5 sacks. Those numbers plummeted to 66 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2012 and 27 tackles and 2 sacks in 2013.

Pierre-Paul had surgery in June 2013 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and he never seemed to fully rebound from that procedure during the 2013 season. He flashed some of his old form in Week 10 that year but also suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the last five games of the season.

In his fifth year in 2014, Pierre-Paul had his second-best season, starting all 16 games and finishing with 77 tackles, 12.5 sacks, six pass defenses, and three forced fumbles. Pierre-Paul played the run well most of the year and finished up strong as a pass rusher after a slow start, with nine of his sacks coming in the last five games of the season.

Much more was hoped for and expected in 2014, but JPP remains the one player in the front seven that other teams need to account for. If he leaves, the Giants will have a major hole to fill on a defense already pot-marked with holes. But bringing him back is not a no-brainer. There is a salary cap and JPP clearly believes he is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL and wants to be paid like it. The Giants know Pierre-Paul has had inconsistent productivity the last three years, as well as back surgery and shoulder issues.

“I think at the beginning of the season he wasn’t playing like he played at the end of the season,” said General Manager Jerry Reese on December 30. “The second half of the season, he came on really strong and played like we thought he should play. The guy has some ability to be a game changer. We didn’t see enough of that in the first half of the season.”

Towards the end of the 2014 season, Pierre-Paul’s comments to the press seemed to strongly suggest he will not be giving the Giants a hometown discount and that he is interested in testing the free agent waters.

“I don’t know (if I will be back with the Giants),” said Pierre-Paul in late December. “Everybody asks me that question and I really can’t answer that question truthfully. I don’t know what my future holds. Who knows if I am going to be in a Giant uniform, who knows where I am going to be in the offseason. Like I said, now, the numbers are there, I had a great season, and everybody sees it. There really is nothing else to say, just negotiations and it is coming.

“At the end of the day, it’s business, it’s business. Everyone knows that, even the fans know that, my family members know it, and I am going to make the best decision to better me and my family.

“I‘d love to be a Giant for the rest of my career, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t always fold like that. Look at Justin Tuck, look at Osi Umenyiora, look at Brandon Jacobs, it doesn’t matter. I think I am worth a lot of money.

“Like I said, it is going to be a business situation, it’s going to be about my family, and what I want to pursue,” replied Pierre-Paul. “At the end of the day, I’m here. Like I said earlier in the season, if I am a Giant, then I will be a Giant for my whole life. I don’t know what is going to happen.”

Articles on DE Jason Pierre-Paul:

Articles on Former New York Giants Co-Owner Ann Mara:

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Rashad Jennings’ offseason training rundown by NFL.com

Article on the New York Giants Special Teams: Who was the Giants’ best special teams player in 2014? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Feb 062015
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Giants.com Q&A With TE Larry Donnell: Know Your Giants: TE Larry Donnell by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on the 2015 New York Giants: 5 things the Giants must do to make the Super Bowl in 2016 by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants and Potential Salary-Cap Cuts: Looking at potential Giants cap cuts by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on P Steve Weatherford: NY Giants punter Steve Weatherford recalls Ann Mara as ‘beautiful spirit’ by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Giants.com Feature on Players: Video features on the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • TE Larry Donnell (Video)
  • TE Adrien Robinson (Video)

Articles on Former New York Giants Co-Owner Ann Mara:

Giants.com Video Tribute to Ann Mara: A video tribute to former New York Giants co-owner Ann Mara is available at Giants.com.

Article on Former Giants LB Lawrence Taylor: Lawrence Taylor at 56: ‘Hard to believe‘ I’m still alive by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on “The Fumble”:

Feb 012015
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Ann Mara, New York Giants (February 5, 2012)

Ann Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants have announced that Ann Mara has passed away at the age of 85. Ann Mara and her children owned 50 percent of the Giants since the death of her husband, Wellington Mara, at age 89 in 2005.

Mara was often referred to as the matriarch of the New York Giants and “The First Lady of Football.”

“I am sad to say that our mother has passed away,” said John Mara, Ann’s son and the team’s president and chief executive officer. “She has been the leader of our family in every way, and we will miss her dearly.

“She slipped in front of her home during the ice storm two weeks ago (on January 18). She had been in the hospital since the following day, initially due to a head injury she suffered in her fall. After a few days, we were hopeful for her recovery, although we knew it would be a long road back. Unfortunately, there were complications.

“She loved her family, and all of us were able to spend time with her in these final days. All 11 of her children and our spouses and numerous grandchildren were with her when she passed away.”

Ann and Wellington were married in 1954. Their family eventually grew to include 11 children, 43 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren. In addition to John Mara, two other sons work for the team, including Senior Vice President of Player Evaluation Chris Mara and Vice President of Community Relations Frank Mara.

The other half of the New York Giants is owned by the Tisch family, who bought their half of the team in 1991 from Wellington Mara’s nephew Tim Mara.

“On behalf of my mother and sister and brother, I want to express our sympathy to John and the Mara family,” team Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch said. “Ann Mara has been the wonderful matriarch of our franchise. Like her husband Wellington, Ann was passionate about her faith, her family and her football team. Her energy and enthusiasm for her franchise were unmatched. We will miss her and are deeply saddened for the Mara family’s loss.”

“Mrs. Mara was a tower of strength, dignity and inspiration for her family and all of us in the NFL,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Her family and the Giants organization have always reflected Mrs. Mara’s competitive spirit, integrity, and wonderful sense of humor. Our thoughts and prayers are with John Mara and the entire Mara family.”

For more on Ann Mara’s life, see Ann Mara, New York Giants’ Matriarch, 1929-2015 by Michael Eisen at Giants.com.

Jan 312015
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (January 31, 2015)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. was named the Associated Press’s “Offensive Rookie of the Year” for his performance during the 2014 NFL season. Beckham is the first New York Giant to win the award in team history. Linebacker Lawrence Taylor won the “Defensive Rookie of the Year” award after the 1981 season.

The other finalists for the award were Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans and Dallas Cowboys guard Zack Martin. Beckham received 42 of the available 50 votes with Martin receiving seven and Evans one vote.

“To me (the award) really means everything,” said Beckham. “It’s one less award that I fell short of. I said I wanted to win a Heisman. I didn’t win a Heisman. I said I wanted to win a national championship. Never won that. Biletnikoff, never won that. Top 10 pick, never won that. Rookie of the Year is something I get to take home.

“It really means a lot because I put in everything I had into it. I wanted this more than anything, not to prove anybody else wrong but to prove I know what I’m capable of. This is one I’m very proud of. I’ll be able to hold that above my head for a little bit of time.”

Although Beckham had earlier one Rookie of the Year honors the Professional Football Writers Association and The Sporting News, the Associated Press award is considered the most prestigious and more official award. Beckham was named the “NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month” in both November and December.

Despite missing most of training camp, all of the preseason, and the first four games of the regular season, Beckham finished the year with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns – all franchise rookie records.

Other statistical accolades of note:

  • Beckham is the first wide receiver in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards after missing the season’s first three games (he missed four).
  • Beckham set NFL records for most catches and yards in the first 12 games to start a career.
  • Beckham’s 91 catches were the second-highest total in franchise history, topped only by WR Steve Smith’s 107 receptions in 2009.
  • Beckham’s 91 receptions are tied with Denver Broncos WR Eddie Royal (2008) for the second-highest total in NFL history for a rookie; Arizona Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin caught 101 passes in 2003.
  • Beckham’s 1,305 yards were the third-highest total in Giants history, surpassed only by WR Victor Cruz’s 1,536 yards in 2011 and WR Amani Toomer’s 1,343 yards in 2002.
  • Beckham joined Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Irvin as the only players in NFL history with at least 90 receiving yards in nine consecutive games. Irvin accomplished the feat in 1995.
  • Beckham is just the fourth player in franchise history with at least 12 touchdown receptions in a season. WR Homer Jones set the record with 13 in 1967. WR Plaxico Burress (2007) and WR Del Shofner (1962) also had 12.
  • Beckham’s 12 touchdown catches are a Giants rookie record and he tied the franchise total rookie touchdown mark set in 1943 by Bill Paschal (10 rushing, two receiving).
  • Beckham averaged 108.8 yards a game, surpassing Victor Cruz’s previous Giants record of 96.0, set in 2011. Beckham’s 108.8-yard average is also an NFL rookie record, topping the old mark of 105.2 set by Groman in 1960.

For videos on Odell Beckham at last night’s award ceremony, see Giants.com:

  • Odell Beckham wins AP Offensive Rookie of the Year (Video)
  • ‘NFL Honors’ Xfinity Couch: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (Video)
Jan 312015
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Victor Cruz, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz spoke to reporters on Saturday night at an NFL Honors event and answered questions about his injured right knee. Cruz tore the patella tendon in his right knee on October 12 during a Sunday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I’m about 15 weeks post-surgery. Feeling good,” said Cruz. “It’s about building the strength up in the knee, the quad, all the major muscles down there. That’s where I’m at right now.

“The trainers have a game plan but they’re not telling me. They tell me weeks as they approach so I don’t look too far ahead. I think that is smart. But I’ll do light running in about two weeks or so.”

It remains to be seen if Cruz can completely regain his pre-injury physical ability. Cruz finished the 2014 season with 23 catches for 337 yards and one touchdown in six starts.

Article on Seahawk DE/LB O’Brien Schofield: How a failed physical turned into a blessing for this Seattle DE by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Jan 302015
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The father of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Archie Manning, told the press on Thursday that he believes his son would retire before playing for another professional football team. One of Archie’s other sons, Peyton Manning, plays for the Denver Broncos after a long career with the Indianapolis Colts.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (February 5, 2012)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“Peyton’s enjoyed his three years with the Broncos but he always envisioned himself playing for one team. So I’m glad when he did have to change, he made a good choice,” said Archie Manning. “But Eli, I think if the Giants traded Eli, he would retire. He loves his team. He loves the New York Giants…Eli wants to (finish his career with the Giants). I hope he can. Eli doesn’t worry about it too much. That is kind of the Giants decision.”

The Giants traded for Manning in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. The 34-year old Manning has played 11 seasons and won two Super Bowl MVP’s with the team. He is entering the final year of his current contract. Manning is scheduled to count $19.75 million against the 2015 salary cap unless the Giants extend his contract.

Statistically-speaking, Manning had one of his best seasons in 2014. Manning finished the year with 4,410 yards (second-highest total in his career and in franchise history), 30 touchdowns (one shy of his career-high in 2011), and 14 interceptions (13 fewer than he threw in 2013). Manning’s completion percentage (63.1) was a career-high. His passer rating of 92.1 was the second-highest of highest of his career (93.1 in 2009).

And Manning did all of this with a new offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, and West Coast Offense-based system.

“I thought going to the West Coast was great for Eli at this point of his career. Really great,” Archie Manning said. “But I didn’t know it was going to involve mechanics and footwork and all that stuff. It was a transition, but he made it and he got more comfortable. Maybe he got comfortable when Odell (Beckham Jr.) started playing.”

(Giants fans are discussing this topic in The Corner Forum).

Article on LB Jon Beason: Jon Beason believes he’ll thrive with new Giants ‘D’ coordinator Steve Spagnuolo by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on Former Giant OT/OG David Diehl: David Diehl’s lasting impact on the Giants by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on Former Giant DE Justin Tuck: Justin Tuck reflects on SBXLII; still considers NY home by Michael Eisen of Giants.com