Giants, AP Part Ways

It really wasn't much of a surprise that the Giants cut Antonio Pierce on Thursday. After all, the former Pro Bowler and defensive leader wasn't playing at nearly the same high level he was in 2007, when he was one of the primary reasons the Giants defense shocked the world and helped Big Blue win Super Bowl XLII.

The fact that an injured neck rendered him useless to the Giants for the final seven games of the disappointing 2009 campaign certainly didn't help his case either.

The 32-year-old Pierce, a fan and media favorite, had one year remaining on the free-agent contract he signed in 2005.

While he played a such a high level his first few seasons in New York, Pierce's play suffered mightily of late, as he became slower on the field and also slower to react. Lowlights of him being beaten not only by opposing tight ends but running backs as well were shown over and over again during his last two seasons with the Giants.

Without Pierce, Big Blue really has no contingency plans at middle linebacker; Chase Blackburn and Jonathan Goff have played there before but have not distinguished themselves at MLB. It's possible the Giants could pursue Arizona inside linebacker Karlos Dansby in free agency.

We'll have more on the details of Pierce's departure as it becomes available.

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