Giants Reel in Knight as Safety Net

It didn't take Jerry Reese long to replace Gibril Wilson. On Monday afternoon the Giants signed veteran safety Sammy Knight to a three-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $5 million. And for those who think this is just a stop-gap move, think again. Knight is tied for third among active players in career interceptions.

Knight, who recently completed his 11th NFL season, led the Jacksonville Jaguars with a career-high 132 tackles in 2007. He also intercepted four passes, increasing his career total to 42, the same number as Denver's Champ Bailey. Only Darren Sharper (53) and Ty Law (52) have more picks among players who played last year.

Knight has played mostly strong safety, which means he or James Butler could move to free safety.

"We're excited to have a veteran of Sammy's caliber joining our secondary," Reese said. "We were attracted to how smart he plays and how productive and physical he plays. We think he will thrive in our defensive schemes. He brings a lot of leadership to the team, especially to the secondary, and he is a real pro."

"Sammy Knight is a durable, physical player with 42 career interceptions," Coach Tom Coughlin said. "He comes to the line of scrimmage extremely well. He's a smart player who gets everybody lined up. He played in Kansas City for (secondary/cornerbacks coach) Peter Giunta, so we know all about the quality of the man. We feel like with his love of the game and his attitude about the idea of team that he'll be a real nice fit for us. Sammy gives us another quality veteran who will definitely help our young guys in their development."

The 6-1, 215-pound Knight has played for New Orleans, Miami, Kansas City and Jacksonville. He has started 168 of the 174 regular season games in which he's played and all five postseason games in which he's appeared. Knight has played in 156 consecutive regular season games, the NFL's 14th-longest current streak. He has missed only two games in his career, both in 1998.

Knight has 1,199 career tackles (831 solo), 9.0 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, in addition to his 42 interceptions. Knight had more than 100 tackles in eight of the last nine years and at least one interception in each of his 11 seasons, including a career-high total of six in both 1998 and 2001. He has scored five touchdowns, four on interception returns. Knight was a Pro Bowler in 2001 with the Saints.

"I think this is a great situation for me," Knight said. "This is a great staff, first and foremost, and a great organization. They won the Super Bowl, and they have a lot of people coming back, so the opportunity to win again was definitely one of the determining factors in me coming here." Knight has intercepted at least five passes in a season five times in his career. The Giants haven't had a player with that many picks in a season since Emmanuel McDaniel had six in 2000.

"That's been one of the things that I've done, and hopefully I can do that here," Knight said. "I'm sure the way this system is, it will allow me to do that. I look forward to doing that."


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