Ward Returns to Provide RB Depth

With Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw already established as New York's solid one-two punch, it might not seem like that big of a deal that the Giants were able to re-sign Derrick Ward to a one-year contract worth a little more than $1 million. Think again.

Ward played as well as he ever has last season while Jacobs was injured and before Bradshaw burst onto the scene and will be a very valuable backup should either player succumb to injury in 2008.

Ward was the Giants' second-leading rusher last season, when he ran for 602 yards on 125 carries (a 4.8-yard average) and three touchdowns. He also caught 26 passes – the fourth-highest total on the team – for 179 yards and another score. Ward helped keep the running game going when Jacobs suffered injuries to his knee in September and hamstring in November.

Ward's season ended in the same game in which he rushed for a career-high 154 yards, on Dec. 2 in Chicago. Midway through the fourth quarter, Ward suffered a fractured left fibula on a four-yard run on which he picked up an important first down. Two days later, Ward was placed on injured reserve. He missed the remainder of the regular season and the Giants' four-game postseason title run.

"We are glad to have Derrick back in our stable of running backs, which will create some real competition at that position," general manager Jerry Reese said. "He brings a lot to the table as a runner, receiver, kick returner and cover specialist." Ward explored his other options before returning to New York.

"I had to keep my options open, but my main goal was to stay here with the Giants," Ward said. "The Giants gave me my start. It feels good to come back to hopefully have a good year this year and be a part of the Super Bowl champion Giants. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish my career here."

Also, one of the least popular players in Giants history, former first-round pick DT William Joseph, is officially a goner. For some strange reason, the Raiders decided Joseph would be an asset to their defense. Oh, well…guess that's why they're the Raiders.

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