No one was surprised that veteran C Dusty Zeigler was released on Monday. He came in for a physical and was given his walking papers by New York shortly afterward. Zeigler's release was hardly a cap bonanza for the Giants, but the club did save some cap dollars by jettisoning their former starting center and Pro Bowl alternate from the 2000 Super Bowl season.
"I'm concerned about him," Head Coach Jim Fassel said shortly before Zeigler's release.
The Notre Dame product underwent two microfracture knee surgeries in the past year-and-a-half and was never the same.
Return to action
While Zeigler was unable to rebound from injury, a trio of Giants looked better than ever Monday. WRs Ike Hilliard and Tim Carter and DT Keith Hamilton all practiced for the first time since season-ending ailments cut their 2002 campaigns short.
"I want to be cautious with those guys, but they looked good," Fassel said.
According to Hilliard, he's coming off four surgeries – two on his toes, one on his thumb and another on his shoulder.
As for Carter, QB Kerry Collins said, "I think he looks great."
Five Giants were on hand but did not practice: K Owen Pochman, CB Will Peterson, TE Marcellus Rivers, S Clarence LeBlanc and DT Matt Mitrione. All are expected to be ready to go when training camp opens on July 24.
On the line
When New York's starting offense unit took the practice field, it did so with Tam Hopkins at RG and Ian Allen at RT. However, it would be surprising if both players were able to hold onto those tenuous starting spots. Allen doesn't agree. "I'm there now," he said. "I don't see why I won't be. I know the position."
However, rookie David Diehl may have the inside track on the RG spot and last year's third-round pick, Jeff Hatch, could rebound from missing all last season with a back injury and start at right tackle.
"My back doesn't affect me," said Hatch, who ran with the second OL at LT and the third unit at RT. He said he thinks he'll be given a chance to start at RT. "That's the spot that's open."
Collins ready to go
Collins, coming off his best professional season, is raring to go. "I feel great," he said. "I'm having more fun than I've ever had. I feel good about the guys on this team. I'm looking forward to having another good year."