Training Camp Notebook

Stringer was almost a Giant While still trying to digest the Korey Stringer tragedy, you may recall that the Giants were definitely interested in selecting the mammoth Ohio State tackle in the 1995 Draft. Stringer was chosen by the Vikings seven selections after Big Blue's pick that year. "Oh yeah," GM Ernie Accorsi said. "He was a solid first-round consideration of ours."

New York had the 17th overall pick, and there was a three-way logjam over whom to pick. The combatants were the GM at the time, George Young (Accorsi was his assistant), Head Coach Dan Reeves and Personnel Director Tom Boisture. While Young favored Stringer, Reeves and Boisture wanted to take running backs, Rashaan Salaam and Tyrone Wheatley, respectively.

Stringer was the first candidate eliminated, and the rest is history, which Reeves is most likely still upset over. Of course, after the Giants dumped Wheatley, he went on to star with the Raiders. Salaam was one of the bigger RB busts in recent years.

Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Cross
On Tuesday, July 31, TE Howard Cross rushed home from Albany around lunchtime in order to be with his pregnant wife, Pia, who was about to deliver the couple's twins. Cross sped home and arrived at Hackensack Medical Center at 3:25 p.m. At 4:15, Howard, Jr., was born, weighing in at 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Seven minutes later, Isabella, who checked in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces, officially joined the Cross family. Congrats go out to Howard and Pia. Tiki Barber and his wife, Ginny, are two of the twins' four godparents.

Walking wounded
The Giants' injury list reached double figures by last weekend. However, Jim Fassel was hopeful of getting most of his ailing players back this week. Here are the players and what was/still is wrong with them: CB Will Peterson (knee), DE Adriano Belli (calf), RB Sean Bennett (hamstring), S Sam Garnes (ankle), DT Cornelius Griffin (hip flexor), WR Ike Hilliard (toe), DT Ross Kolodziej (hamstring), G Glenn Parker (minor neck surgery), DE Cedric Pittman (lower back), LB Brandon Short (quad), C/G Jason Whittle (hip flexor) and RB Tiki Barber (hand).

Tough times
Let's just say that RB Joe Montgomery has seen better days. Montgomery, who ruptured his Achilles' tendon in June, is confident that he could be back on the field and playing by the end of the season, if not sooner. He's not thrilled that the Giants are planning to place him on Injured Reserve. He said that he's well ahead of the normal recovery period, which is six months, and could contribute this season. However, conventional medical wisdom says that Montgomery's timetable is highly unlikely, if not impossible, to achieve.

Also, Montgomery was understandably upset to hear that his father, Joe, Sr., was arrested for no reason near the elder Montgomery's Chicago-area residence. According to the third-year RB, his father was followed home by a police officer from a softball game, arrested for no reason, and placed in jail. Joe, Sr. was later found not guilty in court. According to Montgomery, "the cop had no idea who it was. They were wrong and now we're going to sue their [butts]."

What they're saying
These excerpts come from Gary Horton's recent piece on the Giants defense. Horton is head of The War Room, which scouts NFL personnel and college prospects.

"The addition of rookie cornerbacks Will Allen and Will Peterson should enable [John] Fox to do more blitzing. Both players have terrific man-to-man skills. This will allow the Giants to pressure quarterbacks into making poor decisions more than they did last year."

"[Shaun] Williams was arguably the best free safety in the league last season." "The Giants are trailblazers of a league trend: interchangeable safeties. The tactic enables defenses to counter the use of motion, which offenses implement in an attempt to create mismatches against strong safeties, who are usually less adept than free safeties at covering down the middle. With Williams and [Sam] Garnes able to cover equal ground, the Giants have the luxury of experimenting with Allen and Peterson right away."

"[Cornelius Griffin's] worst game as a reserve [last year] was better than Christian Peter's best game as a starter." "Don't be surprised if the [defense's] depth, talent and added speed provide the Giants with another shot at challenging for the Super Bowl trophy in January."

Legends week
All last week a different former Giants star was on hand in Albany as part of the club's Legends Week. Bart Oates kicked things off. Ron Johnson, the fourth-leading rusher in Giants history with 3,836 yards, followed him and visited camp Tuesday. On Wednesday, George Martin was on hand, then Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson on Thursday. Friday brought an appearance by former LB Carl Banks. Harry Carson and Joe Morris showed up on Saturday to watch the scrimmage.

Go west, young man
Former Giants S Lyle West signed with the Chiefs last week. West was a sixth-round pick of the Giants in 1999 before being waived this off-season.

Quote of the Week
"If he's the best guy when we open on Monday Night Football in Denver, then he'll be starting." – Jim Fassel on first-round pick CB Will Allen

Cut-down time
The first mandatory roster reduction will occur on Tuesday, Aug. 28 when all NFL teams must reduce their roster to 65 players. The final roster cuts will take place on Sunday, Sept. 2 when each team must reduce to 53 active players. Until the mandatory roster cuts, the NFL roster limit for each team is 80 players under contract. Roster exemptions are granted for players who participated in NFL Europe. The Giants currently have 86 players in camp.

All American Golf Classic
Former Giants RB Ottis Anderson will be one of many former athletes and celebrities on hand for the first annual All American Golf Classic. The event, organized by All American Collectibles, is being held to benefit the Michael and Andrew Gallagher Fund as well as the Baseball Assistance Team.

The Classic will take place at Ballyowen Country Club in Hamburg, N.J., on Sept. 10. Also already committed to appear are former NFL players Jarrod Bunch, Brad Baxter and Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier. Rory Sparrow, a former New York Knick, will also be present.

Foursomes and sponsorship packages are still available. For more information call 1-800-966-3964.


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