AP Leadin the Pack

ALBANY, N.Y. – Antonio Pierce knows who's going to be the leader of the Giants' defense this season. The same guy that's been playing that role the last few years.

"The question to me is funny," Pierce said between practices at training camp Friday. "What leader? I've been here for four years now. I thought I was doing a pretty good job, so obviously I need to pick it up more and show somebody something."

That last part was called sarcasm. It's what oozes from Pierce when he feels he's been slighted. And it's what he'll use to motivate himself after hearing reporters ask several other players on Thursday who will take the reins as defensive leader now that Michael Strahan has retired.

Pierce and Strahan were like co-leaders the past few years, with Strahan getting top billing in the media because of his star status an d outrageous pregame "stomping" on the field to fire up his teammates last year.

Pierce, who's also media savvy and is similarly football smart like Strahan, will now be the unquestioned voice of the defense, which is fine with coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who on Thursday called Pierce a "tremendous leader."

But like Strahan, Pierce could use another voice to compliment his. And he knows where one – or more – will come from.

"We've got a lot of guys," Pierce said. "I'm putting them on the spot, but you have to look at who's been on our team for the last four or five years. Guys that have been proven, guys who lead by example, go to work every day, at work every day, teaching younger guys do the little things. We've got a lot of those guys."

Such as cornerback Sam Madison and defensive ends Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck.

"We have some guys there," Pierce said. "You never want to have just one leader."

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