Returning Returners

The Giants signed Domenik Hixon and Darius Reynaud to contract extensions Thursday, indicating their faith in both men's abilities to put some umph in an umph-less kick return game.

The Giants knew what they had in returnman Domenik Hixon before his season ended with a torn ACL on June 15. And they obviously liked what they saw out of Darius Reynaud in his place.

So they signed both to contract extensions Thursday.

At the same time, they officially announced the restricted free agent tendering of OL Kevin Boothe, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, TE Kevin Boss, DT Barry Cofield, DE Mathias Kiwanuka, WR Steve Smith and DE Dave Tollefson. Boss, Bradshaw, Cofield, and Tollefson received second round tenders. Boothe, Kiwanuka and Smith each received an original round tender.

The Giants have also tendered one-year contracts to two Exclusive Rights players: OL Jamon Meredith and TE/FB Bear Pascoe.

The Giants ranked 31st in punt returns in 2010 with a 6.1-yard average, and 31st in kickoff returns with a 19.0-yard average. But part of that was due to the absence of the productive Hixon, who the year before had set a team record with 57 kickoff returns for a 22.6-yard average to go along with a 15.1-yard average on 17 punt returns.

Hixon said he may even have gotten faster than he was in 2009 because of his long rehab.

"I feel real comfortable, I feel strong," Hixon said. "I was joking with one of my buddies. We were running together and I told him, 'I feel like I gained a step.'

"I'm preparing myself as well as I can and getting all the rust off now so when I get back out there I'll be ready for the season and be at full speed. I'm back doing everything full speed. I'm trying to simulate the season I missed with different things."

Since coming over from the Vikings in the Sept. 3 trade that also brought backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels, Reynaud had a team-high 23 punt returns for a 5.7-yard average and tied D.J. Ware for the team lead with 21 kickoff returns for an 18.4-yard average. His longest punt return was 20 yards and his longest kickoff return was 31 yards.

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