Sweet Move

The Giants got their man – and they believe he's the right one for sure. A day after alerting former director of player personnel Jerry Reese that he was to succeed Ernie Accorsi as New York's GM, the Giants introduced Reese at a Tuesday morning press conference at Giants Stadium.

Reese, 43, has been with the Giants since 1994, the last four as Director of Player Personnel. His formal title now is Senior Vice President and General Manager.

"We felt that Jerry was the right man at the right time in the right place," said John Mara, the Giants' President and Chief Executive Officer. "I've had the opportunity to observe Jerry's work firsthand throughout his time here, and he has demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills, intelligence, confidence, a superior work ethic and an outstanding ability to evaluate players. Jerry earned this position the old-fashioned way: through hard work and dedication, being promoted through the ranks, and demonstrating a unique set of skills that caused us to take notice of him very early on. He has earned the respect and admiration of everyone in this organization from the first day he walked in the door and we are very excited about his ability to lead our team in the future."

Reese is only the Giants' third general manager in the last 27 years. The late George Young, who hired Reese, held the position from 1979 through the 1997 season. Accorsi, who had helped convince Reese to join the Giants, promoted him and championed his cause, succeeded Young.

"Ernie and George have two different styles," Reese said. "George was the kind of sit-and-wait and just stand pat with your hand, whatever you had in the draft. He would take what was there, and he thought that was the way to do it. Ernie's style was a little bit different, and I took something from both styles. Ernie believes if you see a guy on the board and you want him, you go get him. If it's time for you to pick and it looks like a guy that should be a third-round pick – hey, don't mess around. If you want him, pick him. Don't mess around. So I got (something) a little bit different – those two different guys, but I got a little bit from both of them in that aspect."

Reese will work closely with head coach Tom Coughlin, who will enter his fourth year with the Giants having led the team to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Coughlin endorsed the promotion of Reese to general manager.

"I'm looking forward very much to working with him," Coughlin said. "Our relationship has obviously grown since I've been here since much of our year is spent on the draft and being involved in evaluating players and working players out, that type of thing."

The selection of Reese is historic, because he is the third African-American general manager in NFL history, joining Baltimore's Ozzie Newsome and Houston's Rick Smith. It was particularly poignant for Reese to learn of his appointment on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

"I thought about that a lot and it was perfect timing," Reese said. "It was absolutely perfect timing for this to happen. I don't mean to sound cliché, but I really feel it's my time to carry the torch. There are many people who went before me who really suffered through this process, and now it's my time. I'm going to be successful – I have to be successful on a lot of levels. I'm looking forward to the challenge. Actually Doug Williams (the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, with Washington 19 years ago) emailed me this morning and Doug said, ‘Jerry, I was just looking at my old tape from the Super Bowl,' and he said, ‘You know what? It was all worthwhile just to see you in that spot this morning. I'm really proud of you.' It's my time to kind of keep the dream alive, because it's very important to me. I don't take it lightly."

Reese believes it will only be a matter of time until the Giants reclaim a spot among the NFL's elite.

"There are several things that I think we can get better at," Reese said. "Ernie has left us with a strong core of players, and it really kind of makes me sick to look at the playoff games going on right now – even with all of the injuries and the bad situations that happened to us this season, the tough schedule and all of that is well-documented. Our team is good enough to still be playing right now. It's no question in my mind. So there are some hot spots that our personnel staff and I … we'll evaluate our team and we'll evaluate where we think the hot spots are. We'll talk to Coach Coughlin and hear what he thinks about where we need to delete some guys or add some guys, so we're in the process of doing that right now. The process is already underway."

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