Friday camp notes

ALBANY - For the first week of training camp it remained a mystery why Jeremy Shockey's right arm was suddenly adorned with a huge and colorful tattoo. Today, he offered an explanation.

"I knew I didn't want something, 20 years later I'd be 'Why did I get this?' '' Shockey said. "I'll never get tired of this, it seems to fit what I'm about.''

The first and only tattoo on his body is an enormous, full-color depiction of an eagle bursting out of a waving, tattered American flag. It stretches from the start of his right shoulder all the way down to his elbow.

"I think it pretty much speaks for itself,'' Shockey said. "I'm proud to live in this country, proud to be able to have the right to express anything you want to on your body. In some countries you're pretty much banned to do what you want to. This seems like this country allows you to express feelings and I'm very American.''

Shockey got the tattoo earlier this summer. He said he flew in an artist named Wild Bill Hughes from Ohio to his condo in Miami, where the two designed the tattoo together. The completed work of art took a total of 21 hours stretched over three days, including 16 straight hours the first day. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin cracked to Shockey that he couldn't believe the rambunctious tight end could ever sit still for so long.

"It was definitely painful,'' Shockey said. "First day we started, it was about six hours into it and I was like 'Just keep going.' I've been wanting one for a while, didn't know what to get. It took me a long time to design it and come up with it and figure out exactly what I wanted.''

* Any break in the numbing routine of training camp is welcomed by coaches and especially players, which is why the Giants were looking forward to tomorrow's dual practice sessions with the Jets.

"It's cool for the fans and cool for us to hit someone else,'' Tiki Barber said.

As was the case the first time these teams came together a year ago, there will be no live scrimmaging in either the morning or afternoon session.

"It's always good to have the players look forward to something challenging and competitive at the end of the week,'' Tom Coughlin said. "You get game speed, you get to work against somebody else, you get to point toward something. I think it's good, solid work.''

Receiver Plaxico Burress (hip flexor) and right guard Chris Snee (strained neck) returned to practice. ... TE Visanthe Shiancoe has soreness in the knee but tests revealed no cartilage damage. ... DT William Joseph has shown signs of life this summer, which is why he's received some work with the first-team defense. Joseph refuses to talk about his play, or anything else, but the improvement hasn't gone unnoticed. "Right now, if you had to put him in there, Willie Joe could definitely be a starter for us,'' DE Michael Strahan said. "He's been the main guy who's stepped up.''

QB Eli Manning in the one practice yesterday put in perhaps his best work yet. "It certainly was a good afternoon for him,'' Tom Coughlin said. Jesse Palmer also heated up, tossing two long completions to Tim Carter.

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