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View Full Version : NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 - 12:45 P.M.



RoanokeFan
02-01-2012, 10:47 AM
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</font></u><u><font color="#ff0000" size="4">THE DATA WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SHOW THE UPDATE TIME IN THE HEADER</font><font color="#ff0000" size="4">. </font></u><font size="4">

</font><font size="4"><font size="6"><font size="4"><font color="#FF0000"><u><font size="6">NFC EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS
NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS
<font color="#0000FF">
PLAYOFFS 3 - 0: ON TO INDIANAPOLIS!
</font></font></u></font></font></font><u><font face="Verdana">
</font></u></font><font size="4"><u>NEWARK STAR LEDGER</u></font>
<div><div><div><div>
PATRIOTS SPEEDY RUNNING BACK STEVEN RIDLEY HOPING FOR CHANCE TO REDEEM FUMBLING PROBLEMS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/super_bowl_xlvi_patriots_speed.html)

Excerpt: "Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, normally used as a speedier change-of-pace
back to spell BenJarvus Green-Ellis, knew why he was made inactive for the AFC
Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens.
<div class="embeddedMedia entry_widget_large entry_widget_right"><span style="DISPLAY: inline" class="mt-enclosure mt-enclosure-photo"><span class="adv-video"><a class="bc_video"><span class="bc_video_overlay"></span></a> <span class="video-data"><span class="title"></span></span><span class="photo-bottom-left"></span><span class="photo-bottom-right"></span></span></span>

</div>"Without a doubt (fumbling troubles) is what I would say," Ridley said
today. Patriots coach Bill Belichick "didn't have to say it. The coaches hadn't
said anything about it, to be honest, but I know as a player there's a reason
why. I know what I did. When you go back and look at your game film and you look
over yourself, you can find your mistakes if you're a good player."



Ridley had a fumble in each of his last two games played before the AFC title
game, which looks even worse when compared to Green-Ellis who has not fumbled
once in his entire career (510 carries), which is an NFL record according to
Elias.</p>


But on the bright side, Ridley told reporters he expects to be active against
the Giants." Read more...</p>GIANTS' OSI UMENYIORA BLAMES MISUNDERSTANDING ON ABSENCE FROM MEDIA SESSION (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/giants_osi_umenyiora_blames_mi.html)

"As his teammates gathered for another mandatory media session in their downtown
Marriot, <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/osi_umenyiora_misses_giants_su.html">Osi
Umenyiora wasn’t at the riser set aside for him</a>. It was an unexcused absence
and it didn’t take long before the NFL responded with a $20,000 fine.<div class="entry-content">
<div class="embeddedMedia entry_widget_large entry_widget_right"><span style="DISPLAY: inline" class="mt-enclosure mt-enclosure-photo"><span class="adv-video"><a class="bc_video"><span class="bc_video_overlay"></span></a> <span class="video-data"><span class="title"></span></span><span class="photo-bottom-left"></span><span class="photo-bottom-right"></span></span></span>

</div>



This afternoon, Umenyiora issued a statement through the team. Apparently, he
had a mix-up with the itinerary. </p>


“I misunderstood the schedule,” Umenyiora said. It won’t happen again, and I
will be at tomorrow’s media session and available after the game. I apologize
for any inconvenience my absence this morning may have caused.”</p>


The Giants have another hour-long mandatory media session Thursday morning.
And after the swift $20,000 fine, expect everyone on time and situated by their
name tags ready for another barrage of questions."</p>COACH BELICHICK WON'T REVEAL IF WR EDELMAN WILL PLAY DEFENSIVE BACK (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/bill_belichick_wont_reveal_if.html)

Excerpt: "


Ever since Julian Edelman showed up on defense, especially when covering Anquan
Boldin in the slot during last month's AFC Championship Game win over the
Baltimore Ravens, the question has become whether or not he'll do it again this
weekend.</p>
<div class="embeddedMedia entry_widget_large entry_widget_right"><span style="DISPLAY: inline" class="mt-enclosure mt-enclosure-photo"><span class="adv-video"><a class="bc_video"><span class="bc_video_overlay"></span></a> <span class="video-data"><span class="title"></span></span><span class="photo-bottom-left"></span><span class="photo-bottom-right"></span></span></span>

</div>Giants wideout Victor Cruz didn't think it was the greatest idea, and
Mario Manningham agreed. But as far as how Edelman will be deployed, New England
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wasn't providing any answers.

"Julian
will be ready to go on everything as he always is," he said. "Based on the game
plan and how it goes, we'll see how that all turns out. He will be ready for all
three phases."



Edelman made one play against Boldin, but was picked on regularly by
quarterback Joe Flacco when on defense." Read more...
</p>ELI MANNING HAD BEST SEASON AFTER LEARNING TO BE MORE SENSIBLE WITH BALL (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/eli_manning_had_best_season_of.html)

"Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said that Eli Manning was
"embarrassed" about the abnormally high number of interceptions last season,
which helped Manning embrace a more sensible philosophy this season.


Part of the problem was the refusal to take sacks, which Gilbride went
into a little bit during his media availability today:

"We're going to
make some plays, but stay away from the bad ones," he told Manning. "And if that
means he has to take a sack, which he has loathed to do, now, he hates to do
that, but if that's the best thing on that play, take it. Throw the ball away,
do those things, and then you're going to make enough plays but when the
situation is such -- the odds of you completing that pass (are bad) don't do
it."

The gaudy numbers this year. Manning finished the regular season
with a career-high 4,933 passing yards *that demonstrated as much of an
evolution as a necessity. Gilbride said that despite Tom Coughlin¹s desire for
balance, Manning needed to step up in order to move the football.</p>

"If Tom had the perfect world we'd run it 30, we'd throw it 30 and we'd win
14-12," Gilbride said."Sometimes it doesn't play out that way and sometimes you
have to recognize that what are people doing defensively? Where's are best
chance of moving the ball? And if we have to run it 50 times, that's fine with
me, but if we have to throw it 50, whatever we gotta do."

On top of
complementing Manning's ability to get serious after pranking his wideouts and
how he's the best student in the room.

There's just one thing Gilbride
wishes would stop: Eli throwing left handed.

"I go crazy, it's foolish,
it's stupid, you're asking for disaster," he said."³Don't do that, sometimes his
instincts are so strong they just take over."
</p>PATRIOTS' ROB GRONKOWSKI DOESN'T PRACTICE (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/patriots_rob_gronkowski_does_n.html)

"New England Patriots TE <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/patriots_rob_gronkowski_misses.html">Rob
Gronkowski (ankle)</a> was the only member of the Patriots that did not
participate in practice today, according to the team's injury report.


Gronkowski sustained the ankle injury in the third quarter of the AFC
Championship game two weeks ago and wore a walking boot until Monday.</p>


Gronkowski said that the team would decide tonight on a special shoe that he
may wear on Sunday against the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/)
that could help with support.</p>


LBs Dane Fletcher (thumb), Rob Ninkovich (hip), Brandon Spikes (knee), and
Tracy White (abdomen); OL Marcus Cannon (ankle), Logan Mankins (knee), and
Sebastian Vollmer (back/foot); S Patrick Chung (knee); receiver Wes Welker
(knee); and DL Kyle Love (ankle)."
</p>PATRIOTS' MATT LIGHT RETURNS TO PRACTICE (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/patriots_matt_light_returns_to.html)
</div>
"Matt Light missed practice Monday and Media Day Tuesday with an illness. The
Patriots left tackle re-emerged today, healthy enough to both practice and dish
out sarcasm as he addressed the rivalry between him and the Giants’ Osi
Umenyiora.


The two have history, dating back to the 2007 season, and <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_osi_umenyiora_vows_to_r.html">Umenyiora
said last week they’ll “rekindle” it in Super Bowl XLVI</a>.</p>


“Can you have an individual rivalry?” said Light, who met with the media for
the first time in Indianapolis this week. “I thought rivalries were maybe
between teams in general. Hey, look, I’m ready to go out there and play whatever
game I’ve got to play, we’ll have fun doing it. I’m not sure that comes with a
personal level, though.”</p>


Umenyiora would say -- <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/mario_manningham_clarifies_sta.html">and
has said</a> -- otherwise. The pair traded shoves and shouts in the teams’ Week
9 meeting this year. Umenyiora said last week that Light is the only person he’s
ever fought on the football field. He explained, “It’s something he’s doing that
really gets under my skin.”</p>


Light said he is not sure to what Umenyiora is referring.</p>


“I have a hard time understanding what my wife says to me on a daily basis,
so I try not to read too much into anything.”</p>


Matt Light missed practice Monday and Media Day Tuesday with an illness. The
Patriots left tackle re-emerged today, healthy enough to both practice and dish
out sarcasm as he addressed the rivalry between him and the Giants’ Osi
Umenyiora.</p>


The two have history, dating back to the 2007 season, and <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_osi_umenyiora_vows_to_r.html">Umenyiora
said last week they’ll “rekindle” it in Super Bowl XLVI</a>.</p>


“Can you have an individual rivalry?” said Light, who met with the media for
the first time in Indianapolis this week. “I thought rivalries were maybe
between teams in general. Hey, look, I’m ready to go out there and play whatever
game I’ve got to play, we’ll have fun doing it. I’m not sure that comes with a
personal level, though.”</p>


Umenyiora would say -- <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/mario_manningham_clarifies_sta.html">and
has said</a> -- otherwise. The pair traded shoves and shouts in the teams’ Week
9 meeting this year. Umenyiora said last week that Light is the only person he’s
ever fought on the football field. He explained, “It’s something he’s doing that
really gets under my skin.”</p>


Light said he is not sure to what Umenyiora is referring.</p>


“I have a hard time understanding what my wife says to me on a daily basis,
so I try not to read too much into anything.”</p>SUPER BOWL: SPURRED BY PATRIOTS HATRED, MANY INDIANAPOLIS COLTS' FANS ROOTING FOR GIANTS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/super_bowl_spurred_by_patriots.html)

"After plopping in Section 209 for media day this morning, Kyle Dotson and Tricia
Abbott wolf down two piles of concession-stand nachos, trying hard not to spill
a drop of the melted cheese on their sweet threads — brand-spanking-new Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/) jackets.


Surrounded, wall-to-wall, by hookey-playing fans in Indianapolis Colts
colors, these two are easy to spot in their shiny blue-and-red outfits and
blaring Giants logos. Dotson concocts a tear-jerking story about boyhood heroes,
like Phil Simms and Bill Parcells, and how he has loved the Giants practically
since birth. But two minutes into the fairy tale, he comes clean.</p>


“We’re not really Giants fans,” he says. “We’re Colts fans.”</p>


So, why the get-up? </p>


“Because we’re anti-Patriot fans,” he says. “We hate the Patriots more than
anything in the world. I bought this stuff to stick it to the obnoxious New
England fans.” </p>


The price tag for the two windbreakers, Dotson’s Giants cap, two tickets to
the day’s event at Lucas Oil Stadium and two orders of nachos? About 160 bucks —
a lot of cash to make a point. </p>


“Yeah, but he’s a man of conviction,” Abbott says.</p>


Since the Giants’ arrival Monday, it has become obvious: Indianapolis belongs
to them, at least until the planes, trains and automobiles — packed with all
those Wes Welkah fans — arrive from Boston. It’s a love-hate thing: As much as
Colts fans adore Peyton Manning’s little brother, they despise the Patriots,
their AFC arch-enemy. This week, every horseshoe is an “ny” in disguise.</p>


•?• •</p>


With their headsets tuned into Eli Manning’s microphone, Section 228 erupts
with laughter when Manning, about 100 yards away, tells a story about Peyton and
him and bunk beds. For the first time in Super Bowl history, fans are attending
media day. </p>


“We love you, Eli!” one female fan shouts.</p>

Hundreds applaud. There’s a pause.</p>


“Brady sucks!” someone else shouts.</p>


More laughter and more applause.</p>


Over chicken fingers in the stadium food court, </p>


LaReta Morrison, a Colts season-ticket holder for 15 years and her BFFs,
Karen Johnson and Sandy Waldridge, pledge their rock-solid support to the
Giants, albeit with a Monday expiration date. The reason for the loyalty oath is
simple:</p>


“The Patriots coach and quarterback are jerks,” Morrison says. “We would be
rooting for anyone who’s playing against the Pats.”
Jack Joyce, 8, skipped
lunch, recess and math class — “Mrs. Gangstad said it was okay” — to let
everyone know he’s rooting for the Giants. Mention the Patriots, and he makes a
sour face.</p>


The city’s motto has changed from “Hoosier friendly” to “Who’s your enemy?”
Fans here hold a grudge, and they say that when the Colts beat the Patriots in
the AFC Championship Game in 2006, many of the Patriots — including coach Bill
Belichick — bolted the field without shaking hands. Plus, they say, Patriots
players talk trash and think they’re so special. </p>


And then there was that time they got caught cheating ...</p>


“Jerks,” says Scott Owens, whose Colts outfit includes a cone-shaped hat
signed by some of his favorite players and a horseshoe tattoo above his right
elbow. “We despise Tom Brady and the Patriots. They’re not good sports. They
don’t shake hands. They spy on other teams.</p>


“They think they’re gods. Look, you’re pro athletes. You make millions of
dollars for playing a game. You’re the luckiest people in the world. Why act
like that? Go, Giants!”</p>


•?• •</p>


With media day over, Treva Shipps and Judy Dailey, grandmas in Colts jerseys,
debate on the way out.</p>


“We hate the Patriots,” Shipps says.
</p>“No, we don’t hate them,” Dailey says.


“Oh, no, we hate them all right.” </p>


“Because they’re tough competition.”</p>


“No, because they’re (jerks),” Shipps says.</p>


The fans don’t get along, either. Patriots supporter Jim Wendling says he has
“never felt welcome” in Indianapolis, even though he comes to every
Patriots-Colts game here. His son, Dalton, recalls getting trampled when he was
8, and his mother, Tiffany, says she went “all Jersey Shore” on a Colts fan who
once spilled a beer on the kid. </p>


But it’s clear, Wendling says, “we’re going to be outnumbered this week — by
a lot.” He adds, “But that’s the price you pay for being so good.”</p>


And so disliked.</p>


When Giants coach Tom Coughlin took the podium Monday, he thanked
Indianapolis for its hospitality and encouraged Colts fans to “become Giants
fans and support the Giants.” </p>


What he was really saying was this: “Look, we know you hate the Pats, so root
for us.”</p>GIANTS' OVERLOOKED ROOKIES MAKE IT TO SUPER BOWL AFTER MISSING OUT ON COMBINE (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/giants_overlooked_rookies_make.html)

"Jacquian Williams stood in his Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/)
uniform amid the throng of reporters from all corners of the globe. This wasn’t
the scene the rookie linebacker imagined his first time at Lucas Oil Stadium to
be.


He once pictured auditioning in front of scouts in a variety of benchmark
drills with the hopes of impressing an NFL club enough to use a draft pick on
him.</p>


But he wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine last February. Instead, he
was on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf for Super Bowl Media Day where his injured
foot has become the subject of one of the spectacle’s most prominent storylines.
</p>


“This is crazy,” Williams said Tuesday.</p>


“To be here for the Super Bowl my first year is amazing. I’m just trying to
enjoy it.”</p>


Williams, a sixth-round pick in April and one of four rookie linebackers on
the roster, wasn’t the only member of the Giants’ large 12-man rookie class to
be overlooked by the talent evaluators. Fellow rookies Spencer Paysinger, Justin
Trattou and Brandon Bing — who is on the practice squad — weren’t invited. </p>


“Probably right around here, they were running their 40s and everything,”
said Oregon product Paysinger, pointing to corner of the field. “Just knowing
that this is where a lot of people got their jobs and to know I went a
completely different route, but I’m at a setting where a lot of people aren’t
that made it, it’s truly a blessing.”</p>

Another, starting fullback Henry Hynoski, suffered a hamstring injury early
in the combine and couldn’t participate for the majority of it. As a result, his
stock plummeted and he went undrafted out of Pittsburgh.</p>


“It’s just full circle,” Hynoski said. “It just goes to show if you work hard
and persevere the right things will happen for you.”</p>


Hynoski is one of four undrafted rookie free agents on the Giants active
roster. Five others were drafted in the fourth round or later, and the team’s
top draft picks have not had the impact many anticipated. Cornerback Prince
Amukamara missed the preseason and the first nine games of the regular season
due to a broken foot. And defensive tackle Marvin Austin was placed on the
injury reserve list during training camp after tearing his pectoral muscle. </p>


The underappreciated group has picked up the slack, making an impact on both
sides of the ball and special teams throughout the season. Five of the 11 on the
active roster have started on offense or defense at one point in addition to
special teams.</p>


It has all come after an offseason without contact with the team due to the
lockout, which forced the undrafted players to wait around all summer before
signing on in late July.</p>

“If it wasn’t for Jacquian, we might still be playing against San Francisco,”
cornerback Aaron Ross said with a smile, a nod to Williams’ forced fumble that
set up the winning field goal. “They’re making a huge impact, especially on the
special teams side of the ball, so we need them.”</p>


Ross himself was a rookie in a Super Bowl against the New England Patriots
when the Giants advanced this far in 2008. He is one of three players — along
with running back Ahmad Bradshaw and long snapper Zak DeOssie — from that 2007
draft class still on the roster and they’ve given this year’s rookies some
advice. </p>


“I just told them to stay focused,” Bradshaw said. “This is a
once-in-a-lifetime thing and just to have fun with it.”
The rookies
understand players go through entire careers without an opportunity to play in a
Super Bowl, so doing it their first year is a rare feat.</p>


“I’m actually happy the way things worked the way they did,” the undrafted
Hynoski said, “because I’m the starting fullback for a team playing in the Super
Bowl. It’s unbelievable.”</p>

GIANTS' VICTOR CRUZ HAS SET OFF A CRAZE WITH IS SALSA DANCE (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/giants_victor_cruz_has_set_off.html)</p>

"Victor Cruz has never stepped into a dance studio for salsa lessons, never
laced up any dance shoes. He just feels the music, moving his hips and feet to
the rhythms of the congas and timbales like his grandmother taught him.</p>


“When I was young, she would just grab me up every chance she could and she
would teach me how to do the dance,” Cruz said.</p>


Abuela and nieto — grandmother and grandson — doing their
thing, creating a memory he cherishes to this day, especially when he scores a
touchdown as <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_victor_cruz_rose_to_sur.html">a
Giants wide receiver.</a></p>


He had no idea — and who would? — that the Latin motions he picked up in the
kitchen and living room would one day be his signature NFL dance that drives
people nuts.</p>


“It’s a tribute to her, a person who was an influence in my life,” he
said.</p>


The Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/)' fan base looks for the
kid from Paterson to not only score, but to break out with some salsa, a new end
zone celebration that is as popular and memorable as others over the years.</p>


Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers does the “Championship Belt,” where he
mimics putting an invisible belt around his waist. Receiver Chad Johnson (now
Ochocinco) did several celebrations, including his version of the Riverdance, in
2005 when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals. </p>


In the 1970s and ’80s, Oilers fans got a bang out of wide receiver Billy
“White Shoes” Johnson, who did the “Funky Chicken.” Oh, and we can’t forget the
“Ickey Shuffle” by Cincinnati running back Ickey Woods, or the 1980s Redskins
and the “Fun Bunch.” </p>


Well, salsa has made its mark in a big way. And if Cruz scores Sunday, as
he’s done nine times this season, you’ll see salsa make its Super Bowl debut at
the expense of the New England Patriots. </p>


Giants fans are itching for Cruz to wax his freestyle on the Pats, because he
hasn’t crossed the goal line in three playoff games. Many Giants faithful
recently packed the Times Square Modell’s to see Cruz and scoop up his T-shirt
that was on sale. </p>


They clamored all over the rising NFL star, getting him to sign the back of
their shirts and take pictures. And for at least a minute or two, he briefly did
some salsa with dance instructors from Balmir Latin Dance Studio in Brooklyn.
</p>


The instructors, Krystal Nieves and Samer Sino, were doing basic salsa
footwork, changing it up with some side steps to the left and right for flavor.
Cruz watched them for a moment, then jumped in when he found the beat. He was
with them step-for-step until he slipped into his own flow.</p>

“He has the old-school, home-style salsa that you learn growing up with your
family,” Nieves said. “He could use a little work. With some lessons, he would
be really good.” </p>


Fans in the store loved it, even the ones who missed their favorite
player.</p>


That would be Benny Ocasio and Rachel Zas of Union City. They are bananas
over Cruz, having finagled their way past the cops who weren’t letting any more
people in the sporting goods store. By the time they got in, Cruz had just left
through a back entrance, but Ocasio, a salsera in her own right, said
she would love to show Cruz a thing or two on the dance floor. For now, she’ll
just settle on watching him salsa in the end zone.</p>

“I think it’s nice touch,” she said. </p>


Cruz says he’s blown away by the excitement the dance has caused. He was just
doing it for fun when he got his first start against the Eagles. He said his
grandmother loved it and he’s been doing it ever since. For those who don’t know
how to dance or would like to, Cruz has some simple advice:</p>


“Stay loose, have fun with it,” he said. “As long as you’re moving your hips
and moving your feet and having a good time, that’s all that matters.”</p>

ROAD TO THE SUPER BOWL: GIANTS' DOMENIK HIXON PUTS BAD LUCK IN ITS PLACE AS HE RECOVERS FROM AN OTHER INJURY (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/02/road_to_the_super_bowl_giants_1.html)</p>

"Go ahead, let your imagination wander, he’s done it himself. In his mind’s eye —
between every leg press, every cardio workout, every pool exercise, every yoga
pose — he still sees No. 87 tapping the ball to himself in the end zone against
the St. Louis Rams, and each time Domenik Hixon reminds himself of one thing:
</p>


An ordinary receiver doesn’t make that play. </p>


An average guy doesn’t score TDs like that — not by leaping over a defender,
having a throw bounce off his shoulder, planting his leg hard enough to tear a
knee ligament, and double-tapping the end-over-end football into the palm of his
right hand as he rolls his way into an ESPY nomination.</p>


A guy who makes that kind of play is destined for ... what, a breakout year?
A special year? A Victor Cruz-like year? </p>


“Coming back from the previous injury — feeling faster, catching the ball
better, knowing the offense — I felt everything was falling in line,” Hixon
says, recalling the moment he tore his right ACL for the second time in 15
months. “I was confident that I was back to 100 percent.” </p>


Could he make that judgment in Week 2? Sure. An athlete knows. You only have
to revisit that catch — among the very best of the 2011 season — to understand.
Hixon was on his way.</p>


Then, about 24 hours later, we learned that the reward for this TD was
another shredded ligament, another surgery, and another six to eight months in
rehab.</p>


Nobody ever said this game was fair.</p>


But we can say this: The unique nature of this game is how it can act as a
petri dish for the examination of the human soul. So we made it a point to take
our 2012 Tour of the industrial heartland through a local gym just outside of
Columbus, to reacquaint ourselves with one of the biggest hearts you’ll find
inside a blue jersey. </p>


Is Hixon bitter? Not in the least. Is he snakebit? On the contrary, the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/)’ receiver is grateful for everything
he has, even if he’ll be a mere spectator Sunday in Indianapolis. </p>


Is he perplexed by this absurd twist of fate? That’s another matter.</p>

This is a team guy. But let’s be frank: If he gets out of Week 2 without a
scratch, he remains Eli Manning’s No. 3 target behind Mario Manningham and
Hakeem Nicks — if not climbing the charts with a bullet.</p>


Which also means, one may surmise, that we may never have become acquainted
with <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_victor_cruz_rose_to_sur.html">the
new star of this show, Victor Cruz.</a></p>


“I’ve thought of that,” Hixon admitted with a nod, after a two-hour workout
the other day.</p>


“I’ve always said, when I go to schools and talk to kids, ‘You have to take
advantage of opportunities.’ If (Drew) Bledsoe never gets hurt, maybe we never
hear of Tom Brady. Injuries are part of the game, and a lot of people come
ready.”</p>


He has one word to describe Cruz’s astral-like explosion into prominence:
“Awesome,” he said.</p>


“The thing I think about, if I’m still there, is how much more open
Manningham and I would be — because now they have to double-team everybody. But
he’s been awesome, along with Hakeem (Nicks). It’s something I want to be a part
of, and look forward to.” </p>


The interesting part to all this: We didn’t come here looking for envy,
really, because the enduring lesson of sport is that seasons, careers, and lives
can turn on one play.
</p>

But Hixon, 27, taught us a lesson about how hideous luck can be a mere
inconvenience, when you’re mature enough to understand priorities.</p>


“We never heard a word of complaint from him — not after the first time he
tore it, or the second time — and a lot of it was related to what was happening
around here,” explained his dad, Marvin, a cop in the city of Columbus. “Because
at the time he was injured, my wife was still dealing with breast cancer, and
that weighed on his mind far more than his knee.”</p>


Indeed, the first time Marvin had a chance to console his son was on the
phone. Domenik interrupted him immediately: “I have no reason to feel sorry for
myself, Dad,” he told Marvin. “Not with the stuff that Mom is going
through.”</p>


•?• •</p>


Birgit Hixon is fine now. She endured surgery, and then chemotherapy, which
ended exactly seven days after her son tore ACL-II. Yet throughout their
concurrent ordeals, her well-being was the only issue in his life.</p>


“She was diagnosed in the spring, when I was coming back from my first knee
injury,” Domenik said. “And when I look at her now, that’s more inspiration than
anyone else can give me. She shows me you can come back from anything.”</p>


Lost season? It’s all house money, is how he sees it. </p>


Monitoring his rehab stint was Milan Smith, 12 years his senior, and one of
Hixon’s former coaches at Whitehall-Yearling High School. Milan smiles like a
big brother when he talks about him — which he is, basically — and says, “If
anything defines what Dom is like, it’s the perspective he’s taken into this
rehab.”</p>

Smith was the first guy Hixon called after he was told the ligament had been
retorn, and he’ll never forget the conversation. </p>


“It was like he was talking about ... the weather,” Smith recalls. “It was
like, ‘If this is what God has for me, we just go back at it again, and we’ve
got to work harder at it this time. Now, I’m getting ready for surgery, I’ll see
you in two months for rehab, and we’ll get ready to go to work.</p>


“It was never, ‘Woe is me,’ never once did you hear ‘God is unfair,’ or ‘Life
sucks.’ Not once.”</p>


Smith paused to laugh out loud: “And he never, ever said, ‘Victor wouldn’t be
eatin’ if I were in there.’ It was more like, ‘Man, if I were there, we’d all be
eatin’ right now.’”</p>


So that’s your receiver in rehab. He’s one of the kids you root for, not
because he’s got a great family and an interesting name (by the way, it’s
pronounced “Dominique, but he’s too polite to correct anybody,” his dad says),
but because we all know that the game owes him one. </p>


Or two, actually.</p>


“I’m off to Indianapolis Thursday — I talked to (middle linebacker Jonathan)
Goff, we’ll meet up, grab dinner, hang out, and have our ACL Anonymous meeting,”
Hixon said with a chuckle. “It’s a blessing to be a part of it.” </p>GIANTS' VICTOR CRUZ ROSE TO SURPRISE STARDOM AFTER TEAM NEARLY WAIVED HIM (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_victor_cruz_rose_to_sur.html)

"Jerry Reese was sitting almost alone in the south end-zone seats at Lucas Oil
Stadium today, about 10 rows above and another 20 or so yards away from Super
Bowl XLVI Media Day, where Victor Cruz was seated on a riser.


“People call it lucky. I say we got blessed with the situation. I’d rather
frame it that way,” the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/)’ general
manager said of the franchise’s new single-season receiving leader, once an
overlooked undrafted free agent. “I’m happy for the kid. He’s a local,
afterthought free agent and now he’s got a podium out there.</p>


“That’s beautiful, man. You can’t make that up.”</p>


The Giants aren’t here, preparing for Sunday’s game against the New England
Patriots, if not for Cruz. That much can’t be made up, either.</p>


And Cruz isn’t here if not for a few unnamed members of the Giants’ front
office. Also a fact.</p>


Put simply: Cruz was almost waived when the Giants trimmed their roster to 53
players in September 2010. Put even more bluntly: For a few minutes, he was
waived with the hope he’d go unclaimed and land on the Giants’ practice squad.
But a few of the decision-makers that day reversed a decision that could’ve had
a huge impact on this Super Bowl season following the loss of wide receiver
Steve Smith.</p>

At least that’s been the rumor the past 17 months, a rumbling one of Cruz’s
alleged rescuers confirmed to The Star-Ledger today for the first time.</p>


“He was saved by some upper-echelon Giants front-office people,” senior vice
president of player evaluation Chris Mara said. “I’ll put it that way.”</p>


And apparently more than once.</p>


“It’s no big secret he was on the bubble both years,” Mara said. “That
happens a lot. Look at (James) Harrison from Pittsburgh. He got cut (four)
times.”</p>


Good point. Continue.</p>


“He wouldn’t have made it to the practice squad,” Mara said, indicating a
team would’ve claimed Cruz. “I mean, was it a matter of him maybe playing in a
Jet uniform?”</p>


Or in any uniform, for that matter.</p>


“No,” Mara interjected to emphasize his point. “I said in a Jet uniform.”</p>

Ah. We’re all caught up now.</p>


In 2010, the Giants had some tough decisions to make at final cuts, as every
team does every year. They cut veteran receiver Derek Hagan, only to bring him
back later in the season after they placed Cruz and Ramses Barden on injured
reserve.</p>


The Giants would’ve preferred to stash Cruz on the practice squad while he
made the adjustment from UMass to the NFL. But his three-touchdown performance
against the Jets (http://www.nj.com/jets/) in the preseason opener,
the film that came with it and a quote from Rex Ryan all combined to save his
Giants career.</p>


“I hope they cut him,” Ryan said after Cruz torched his backup defensive
backs. “I know one team that would be ready to sign him, and that’d be us.”</p>


Imagine for a moment Cruz’s 99-yard touchdown coming for the Jets and not
against them. Think of him doing a salsa in front of Fireman Ed. Consider, if
you can, whether Mark Sanchez would be here now while Tom Coughlin was
potentially out of a job and Reese was under scrutiny infinitely worse than what
he experienced in August when he let Smith and Kevin Boss walk.</p>


Wonder no more.</p>


Lucky? Blessed? Whatever. Cruz is a Giant despite a few times when he almost
wasn’t.</p>


“We really weren’t sure what we had with him (in 2010), and this past
preseason he really didn’t do that much. We were still wondering, ‘Is this that
guy we saw a year ago or not?’” Reese said. “And then, there was some discussion
...”</p>


Translation: about whether to keep him or not.</p>


“... and he ends up staying on the roster and gets out there. And the first
pass of the season thrown to him, he dropped it, so we’re still not sure about
the guy. ‘Who is this guy?’”</p>

He was a hard-working guy from Paterson who put in extra film work before the
lockout, attended Eli Manning’s Hoboken workouts during the NFL’s work stoppage
and proved the jobs held by Reese, Mara and the rest of the front office are
extremely difficult because the 53rd man on the roster (or, briefly, the unlucky
54th) can become a record-setting player.</p>


“Anytime there’s a guy who’s come relatively from nowhere, to climb up and
really work hard and do what you have to do (shows) a tremendous effort from
me,” said Cruz, who had 1,536 receiving yards in the regular season and has
added 244 yards in the playoffs. “It’s definitely a unique situation and one
I’ll definitely cherish for the rest of my career.”</p>


A career that almost led him elsewhere.</p>


“That’s the beauty of personnel,” Reese said. “You draft guys high and
sometimes you get guys as free agents and all of a sudden the free agent throws
up a Hall of Fame career at you. We’ve seen that happen many times.”</p>


Reese added, “To us, the last guy on the roster is important. We don’t just
willy-nilly anybody. You just can’t come off the street and get on the roster,
If you’re on our roster, we think you have some ability.</p>


“And Victor has far exceeded any expectation.”
</p>ANTREL ROLLE SAYS GIANTS ARE GOING TO WIN SUPER BOWL, THEN BACKS OFF GUARANTEE (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/antrel_rolle_says_giants_are_g.html)

"Antrel Rolle is playing in his second Super Bowl, this one with the Giants, and
the safety plans on winning this time.


“We’re going to win this thing,” Rolle said at Media Day today at Lucas Oil
Stadium. “We’re going to win this thing for a lot of good reasons.”</p>


Rolle expressed his confidence several other times. The Giants are “not going
to be denied,” he said. He also said the team is going to “go out there and take
care of business, and it will be done.”</p>


But later asked if he guaranteed a win, Rolle balked at the suggestion.</p>


“I didn’t say we’re going to win, I said we’re going to go out there and do
whatever it takes to win,” Rolle said. “I didn’t guarantee anything</p>


Rolle was on the losing end of Super Bowl XLIII, when the Steelers beat the
Cardinals.</p>


The Giants were at one point 7-7, but when they beat the Jets in Week 16,
Rolle said that was the turning point for his team.</p>


</p><div class="entry-content">

“There was a lot of trash talk throughout the week, and we just said, ‘We’ll
let our play do the talking for us,’ ” Rolle said. “And we got hit with a lot
that game. I think there was some outrageous calls that game where things could
have been overturned, and I think they were definitely getting fed the biscuit
that game.”</p>


Rolle meant that the referees were giving favorable calls to the “home” Jets.
One questionable call in particular was when Jason Pierre-Paul looked to strip
quarterback Mark Sanchez after beating left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson -- but
a challenge by Ryan reversed the call. Afterward, coach Tom Coughlin said “we’re
going to have to revisit the ‘tuck rule.’”</p>


“But no matter what was going our way, we weren’t going to let it change the
way we were going to play,” Rolle said. “We didn’t let it change our mentality,
and we didn’t let it change our fight, and I think that’s where we grew as a
team mentally. Not so much physically but mentally. We understood at that point,
no matter what is going our way, we won’t get sidetracked and we won’t get
denied.”</p>


Rolle said the trash talk from the Jets didn’t mean much to him but he did
make it clear that the Giants silenced their cross-town rivals.</p>


“No matter what is being said, the game has to be played on Sunday,” Rolle
said. “You can’t talk with your mouth. You can only go out there and put your
pads on and let your pads to the talking. And I think we solved
that.”</p>GIANTS' JAMES BREWER RETURNS TO HOMETOWN WITH GOOD LUCK CHARM IN HAND (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_james_brewer_returns_to.html)

"The Giants’ superstitious ways are no secret. From their Christmas tree in
the practice facility’s lobby throughout their playoff run to individual quirks,
the team is as superstitious as they come.


So when rookie tackle James Brewer got off the Giants team plane Monday with
a huge teddy bear in hand, like he had just come home from the carnival, it was
just another talisman for a team full of them. </p>


It was a potentially embarrassing image for the 6-6, 325-pound offensive
lineman, but Brewer was happy -- even honored -- to do it. </p>


The bear became fellow tackle Kareem McKenzie's good luck charm back in 2007
as the Giants made their improbable run to Super Bowl XLII and it called
McKenzie's locker home this season. It has also gone on the team's road trips so
leaving it home wasn’t an option.</p>


"In 2007 they brought the bear to every game, including the Super Bowl in
Arizona when we beat the Patriots," Brewer said. "The veterans gave me the task
of carrying the bear here. It's a good luck charm kind of thing."</p>


Not only is Brewer enjoying a Super Bowl as a rookie, he’s doing it in his
hometown. Brewer attended Arlington High School for his senior year and played
football for the first time there. Despite the limited experience he showed
enough potential to earn a scholarship to Indiana.</p>
<div class="entry-content">

He turned that into a solid college career and a fourth-round selection in
April’s draft. He’s been inactive for every game this season and will almost
certainly be inactive on Sunday, but the Giants viewed him as a long-term
project when they drafted him.</p>


Now he’s just happy to experience a Super Bowl back home.</p>


“For me, I’ve been blessed to be in a position where one -- to be in a Super
Bowl, and two -- to be back home for that Super Bowl,” he said. “So I couldn’t
ask for anything more than I have right here.”</p>

MARIO MANNINGHAM CLARIFIES STATEMENT ON JULIAN EDELMAN: HE STILL WANTS TO SEE HIM IN SUPER BOWL XLVI (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/mario_manningham_clarifies_sta.html)</p>

"-- <a href="http://bostonherald.com/sports/football/patriots/view/20120127manningham_likes_edelman_matchup">Mario
Manningham told the Boston Herald last week he hopes to see Julian Edelman</a>
out there on defense. That sort of had a negative connotation to it, so today
Manningham tried to clarify.</p>


“It’s not like that. I respect him as a player, I understand that he’s a good
player,” the Giants’ wide receiver said during a Media Day session with
reporters. “He plays wide receiver and defensive back. I don’t take anything
from him but he plays offense.</p>


“So I know he’s a competitive player, but I’m going to try to win. No matter
who lines up in front of me, I’m going to try to win.”</p>


Okay, easy enough of a clarification. Moving on. …</p>


Wait, hang on.</p>


"It’s not just me, but us as a receiving corps," Manningham said when asked
about "exposing" Edelman in the secondary. "We know he’s a great player, but we
want to go out and do what we have to do to win. No matter what it takes.</p>


“He plays wide receiver. He’s not a real defensive back. Did he get drafted
as a defensive back? We have a little bond going on knowing that we can beat
somebody. We’re confident. I hope he’s out there.”</p>


</p><div class="entry-content">


So much for softening his stance. And so much for what he tries to accomplish
here in this next quote.</p>


“I don’t really want to say anything more about him. We’ll see on Sunday,”
Manningham said when asked if Edelman can cover the slot receiver. “Do you think
he can?”</p>


* * * *</p>


While we’re on the subject of trash talk, why don’t we <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_osi_umenyiora_vows_to_r.html">double
back with DE Osi Umenyiora, who said he and Pats LT Matt Light will
“rekindle”</a> their rivalry on Sunday.</p>


“He just does all of that extra pushing and tries to hit you over the pile
and stuff like that,” Umenyiora said. “But at the end of the day, I’m not paying
any attention to that anymore. We’re just going to go out there and play and
that’s just going to be the end of it.”</p>


No more fighting?</p>


“Nah, not at all. Not on this stage,” Umenyiora said. “I don’t think it’s
going to be a situation with us fighting or doing anything crazy like that.
We’re just going to play good, solid football.”</p>


Light was not at Media Day. He was excused by the team and the NFL because
he’s sick.</p>


“He’ll be okay,” Umenyiora said. “A little cold, a little flu, that’s nothing
compared to what most of us have to play with. I think he’ll be okay.”</p>


* * * *</p>


We <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_arrival_for_super_bowl.html">wrote
for today’s paper on the Giants’ business-like approach upon landing here</a>
and how it differed from the way they stomped onto this stage four years
ago.</p>


“The 2007 team was just playing,” RB Brandon Jacobs said. “We knew we had a
terrible season and we had a last opportunity to take advantage of and made the
playoffs. But all along, during those playoffs, we were just playing.</p>


“We didn’t really know then. This team knows we can come out here and do
this. … We worked super-hard to get here and we’re going to try to finish this
thing off.”</p>

GIANTS' DC PERRY FEWELL WOULD HAVE DECLINED A NY HEAD COACHING INTERVIEWS DURING SUPER BOWL RUN (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_defensive_coordinator_p_10.html)</p>

Excerpt: "Perry Fewell knows he wants to be a head coach, but was not worried when he
didn't receive any offers during the recent hiring binge around the league.


Fewell thinks that if the Buccaneers, Rams, Jaguars, Raiders, Colts or
Dolphins called, he would not have interviewed in order to stay focused on the
defense through this playoff stretch.

"You know what? I was so focused on
helping us win that I probably would have said no," he said. "I really wanted
this for our football team, this team has come through a lot this year, we grew
a lot together this year, I wasn't going to be selfish okay? And sometimes you
have to not look at yourself and you think about the team and I thought about
the team in this situation." Read more...
</p>

GIANTS' RECEIVERS HAVE EDGE OVER PATRIOTS SECONDARY. RODNEY HARRISON SAYS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_receivers_have_edge_on.html)</p>

"Rodney Harrison said there's no hard feelings with his former Patriots teammates
now that he's in a position to criticize as an NBC commentator.

They
understand, he says, and they know he's rooting for them.

But Harrison
doesn't seem that confident. When asked if the Patriots have enough on the back
end to cover the Giants trio of wide receivers, he had this to say:

"On
a consistent basis? No. They're going to have to step up and you're going to
have to have guys like Sterling Moore and (Kyle) Arrington play outside of
themselves and they're going to have to play well."

Harrison blamed the
issues in part on former Rutgers product Devin McCourty, who made the Pro Bowl
in his inaugural season after picking off seven passes and forcing two
fumbles.

This year, his numbers have been down considerably, to which
Harrison blames mental mistakes.
</p>

"Devin McCourty, he's a player, if he focuses in, he has the ability to be an
elite cornerback in this league. But when I watch film on him, it's the little
things he does wrong *-- it's being outside technique when he should be inside.
It's being inside when he should be outside, peeking in the backfield, those
little things keep you from being an elite player, a consistent player and from
getting beat," Harrison said.

During their last matchup, neither Victor
Cruz nor Mario Manningham had more than 100 yards receiving, due partly to the
fact that Hakeem Nicks was sitting out with a hamstring injury.

But if
there's any chance to replicate that performance with Nicks in play, Harrison
said, they will have to avoid those same mistakes that continue to show up on
film each week.

"This is a time for the Patriots to really come
together," he said, "not blow the coverages and have the miscommunications
they've had in the past and if they do that, I think they can compete and stay
right there with the Giants."
</p>SUPER BOWL LINKS: GIANTS ONLY NFL TEAM THAT IS "TRULY BALANCED" (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/super_bowl_links_giants_only_n.html)

Excerpt: "Over on Boston.com, Globe columnist Bob Ryan puts the <a href="http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/articles/2012/01/31/patriots_left_to_deal_with_this_giant_oversight_in _super_bowl/">Giants
in a "truly balanced" category among NFL playoff teams, the only one to fall
under that title.</a>


Ryan writes in hindsight, it's "very obvious the Giants had more going for
them than anyone" and the 9-7 record overshadowed just how good they were.</p>


Here are some other Super Bowl links that Giants fans may find
interesting:</p>


• Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com takes a look at — and gives insight into —
<a href="http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7518492/super-bowl-prop-bets-grand-finale-nfl-season">some
of the gambling prop bets available for the Super Bowl.</a> If you think the
Giants will blow out the Patriots, you could win a lot of money. And for the
truly hardcore degenerates, heads or tails on the coin toss?" Read more...
</p>http://www.nj.com/giants/
</div></div></div>
</div></div></div></div><font size="4"><u>NY DAILY NEWS
</u></font><div><div><div><div><div>
GIANTS' OSI UMENYIORA BLOWS OFF MEDIA SESSION, FINED $20,000 BY NFL (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/osi-umenyiora-fined-20-000-skipping-super-bowl-media-session-wednesday-indianapolis-article-1.1015316)

"
<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


Defensive end Osi Umenyiora (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Osi+Umenyiora), a
chronic violator of the NFL’s Media Policy, was smacked with a $20,000 fine by
the NFL for skipping the Giants’ second mandatory media session on Wednesday
morning.</p>


Every one of the Giants’ players and coaches, including every member of the
practice squad, was in attendance for the 45-minute session in side the Giants'
team hotel. The Patriots had full attendance at their session earlier in the
morning, too.</p>


Umenyiora, however, apparently remained back in his hotel room, which was a
direct violation of league rules.</p>


The Giants did not offer an explanation for his absence, though a spokesman
said that it was not injury related and that Umenyiora was on time for a 12:15
p.m. team meeting. He is also expected to practice this afternoon when the
Giants take the field at the University of Indianapolis.</p>


Umenyiora has been threatened with fines several times by the NFL during the
last two regular seasons for not speaking to reporters either during the
practice week or after games. This is believed to be the first time he’s
actually been fined."</p></div>PATRIOTS' NOT TAKING GIANTS' BAIT (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/stoic-england-patriots-planning-engage-ny-giants-a-super-bowl-war-words-article-1.1015229)

"Dealing with trash talk is nothing new for the Patriots.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none"><div class="story-body">


Playing in the same division as Rex Ryan (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Rex+Ryan) and the Jets,
they are bombarded weekly with bold statements and grandiose predictions.
Through it all, for the most part, the Pats have stood stoic above the fray,
adhering to the cliche: We do our talking on Sundays.</p>


But after a regular-season of bombast from their most heated rivals, followed
by promises this week from Brandon Jacobs (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brandon+Jacobs) and
Antrel Rolle (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Antrel+Rolle) that
Giants will win Super Bowl XLVI, doesn't all of the big talking start getting to
the Patriots?</p>


"The Jets? We know they are full of hot air, so we see where they are right
now," said guard Logan Mankins (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Logan+Mankins).
"I would love to say something at times, but the Giants haven't said anything
that offends me."</p>


Pats defensive line coach Pepper Johnson (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Pepper+Johnson), who
played on some brash Giants teams under Bill Parcells (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Bill+Parcells) in the
'80s and '90s, calls the current Giants' talk "gibberish."</p>


"Lots of times when guys are talking, they're trying to pump themselves,
trying to get their name mentioned, they want their name bolder in the papers,"
said Johnson, who starred on two Giants Super Bowl teams in 1986 and 1990.
"We're not like that. The game is won out on the football field and not in
predictions. To me, you're just talking to be talking, to hear yourself talk.
The rest of the stuff all in between is just gibberish."</p>


This week, Tom Brady (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Brady) drifted as far
into trash-talk land as the Patriots ever do when he told fans at the team's
send off that he hoped to see them all at their victory party. That is the
exception, however - and according to his players, exactly how Bill Belichick (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Bill+Belichick) wants
it.</p>


"We don't worry about that. We take all the comments, we listen to them, and
just put them in the back of our minds before we go out there and play," said
former Jet and current Pats <a title="Shaun Ellis" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Shaun+Ellis">defensive end Shaun
Ellis</a>. "I never got into words in the media. To me they are just words. You
can talk a lot in the papers, but you get on the field and you're getting beat,
then it all don't hold up."</p>


Still, even the Patriots are human.</p>


"I kind of grit my teeth with it," said safety Patrick Chung (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Patrick+Chung). "We're
not here to talk. You hear it, it burns in your chest a little bit, but it is
what it is."</p></div>
</div>
##

ONE TIME NY GIANT ROOMMATE, NATE COLLINS, MARVELS AT VICTOR CRUZ'S PATH TO STARDOM (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/one-time-ny-giant-roommate-marvels-victor-cruz-path-stardom-article-1.1015052)

Excerpt: "It was the spring of 2010 and they were roommates at a Meadowlands hotel for
more than a month, a couple of undrafted free agents, telling each other at
night what they were going to do with the Giants if they ever got a chance. <a title="Nate Collins" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Nate+Collins">Nate
Collins</a> was a defensive lineman out of Virginia, Victor Cruz (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Victor+Cruz) was a wide
receiver out of UMass, a couple of dreamers trying to make it through Organized
Team Activities, known as OTAs, and rookie mini-camps, make it to training camp
in Albany and then somehow into the big time.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none"><div class="story-body">


“Yeah, we talked about our dreams every single night when we’d get back to
the room,” Nate Collins was saying Tuesday, with the Jaguars now, having gone
there from the Giants’ practice squad. “We’d sit there at night and Vic and I,
we’d map out how we were gonna get to where we wanted to go.</p>


“Any young guy in the league who tells you he doesn’t do the same thing is
lying. You look at the competition and say, ‘If I get a chance, I’m better than
this guy.’ Or, ‘I’m better than that guy.’ Then you just hope you’ll get a
chance to prove it.”</p>


<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/super-bowl-xlvi-media-day-check-three-ring-circus-patriots-giants-face-media-gallery-1.1014713">MEDIA
DAY PHOTO GALLERY: GO INSIDE THE THREE-RING CIRCUS THAT IS SUPER BOWL XLVI MEDIA
DAY</a></p>


Tuesday, Nate Collins said, “Vic got his chance, and then he just showed the
whole world how good he really is. He’s the kind of guy who gives us all hope.
He’s the guy playing for all the dreamers in the world on Sunday.”</p>


Nate Collins comes out of Port Chester, N.Y., played high school basketball
at The King School in Stamford, Conn., spent enough time in our house in those
years that he is still considered a member of our family. This season he scored
his first professional touchdown, recovering a fumble in the end zone.</p>


Now he watches his friend Victor Cruz — without whom the Giants don’t have a
game on Sunday night against the Patriots — try to go from their OTAs in the
spring of 2010 and the mini-camps, all the places where undrafted kids try to
show what they can do, to Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots. Now Victor Cruz,
who wanted his chance, gets a chance to show the whole world what he can do.</p>


Nate Collins said, “I told him the other day, ‘Dude, you gotta salsa in the
Super Bowl.’ ”</p>


Sometimes at night, Collins said Tuesday, he and Cruz would play “FIFA World
Cup” on Xbox. You can let the goal scorers in that game have almost any kind of
celebration, including salsa dances. So they would compete against each other in
the video game and have their scorers do crazy dances after goals. Then came the
day, of course, when Nate Collins saw his friend catch a touchdown pass for the
Giants and do a salsa dance that has made the kid from Paterson (N.J.) Catholic
as much the face of this Giants season as anybody." Read more...
</p></div></div>GIANTS' MARK HERZICH INSPIRED BY INDIANA NUN IN CANCER FIGHT (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/mark-herzlich-ny-giants-inspired-indiana-nun-cancer-fight-article-1.1015080)

"Room 109 at Our Lady of Holy Angels convent, a community of Franciscan
sisters living atop a snowy hill at the end of a winding, wooded path, doubles
as the headquarters of Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mark+Herzlich)’s fan
club.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


Framed photographs featuring the rookie in an array of haircuts — ranging
from the current Mohawk to bald during his battle with cancer — decorate the
door, two walls and a wooden bookshelf.

“I would have more gear if it
wasn’t for my vow of poverty,” says <a title="Barbara Anne Hallman" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Barbara+Anne+Hallman">Sister Barbara
Anne Hallman</a>, an irascible 70-something and colon cancer survivor.</p>


<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/super-bowl-xlvi-media-day-check-three-ring-circus-patriots-giants-face-media-gallery-1.1014713">MEDIA
DAY PHOTO GALLERY: GO INSIDE THE THREE-RING CIRCUS THAT IS SUPER BOWL XLVI MEDIA
DAY</a>

Hallman, a daughter of the Great Depression, commenced a
pen-pal relationship with Herzlich when she read about his diagnosis with
Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in May of 2009, penning inspiring
missives in flowing script. She borrowed stationery from neighboring nuns, never
writing on the same background twice and stamped her messages with hopeful
images from nature.

Last week, she sent the most recent correspondence as
the Giants prepared for Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots:

Know
that we have more Giant fans here than ever before! Welcome to Indiana! We will
be watching you and rooting for you, My Football Man!

Love and
Prayers,

Sr. <a title="Barbara Anne" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Barbara+Anne">Barbara
Anne</a>

“She’s been unbelievable and I’ve relied on her words,”
says Herzlich, whose German surname translates to “heartwarming.” “I love her
outside perspective.”

Hallman takes one stand as an insider. She insists
Giants coach Tom Coughlin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Coughlin)
play Herzlich, who was cleared to return after missing five games with an ankle
injury.

“If Mark is not in the game by halftime, I will not hesitate to
call and complain,” she says.

Sister Barbara Anne casts a wide net when
it comes to tracking the linebacker’s progress. A Google Alert is set on her
computer to keep her abreast of any mentions on the Internet. Her profile
picture on Facebook features her, in a habit, gazing up at him following his
first game back on the field at Boston College in August of 2010. After she met
him the first time at Notre Dame Stadium, six miles from the convent, he sent
flowers. When he reached the Super Bowl she posted on her Facebook wall a
message:

I am excited that My Football Man’s team, the Giants, is
going to the Super Bowl. What more could Mark ask for? He deserves every
blessing he receives!

She allows that she has reached “groupie”
level of love.

“I think he and his family realize I’m not your typical
nun,” she says.

Her interests are unconventional in the community. “The
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” an international bestseller, sits in a basket on
her walker. She has been known to be late for Mass when Notre Dame football
games run into overtime. Last week, she stood in a sporting goods store and eyed
a Giants sweatshirt. She took it down from the rack and fingered the fabric, but
eventually decided that she could not afford it.

“Would have blown my
whole budget,” she says, noting that she receives $30 per month.

Football
and faith intersect in the quiet hallways. Sister Lois wrestles with her
fanaticism when Notre Dame plays. Former Irish QB Brady Quinn (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brady+Quinn) has
visited. One wide receiver told the community that he says several Hail Mary
prayers when he is running his route.

“Oh, we loved him,” she says. “Big
fans of that answer.”

On Monday, Father Jim, the chaplain, dressed in his
brown friar robe with rope tied around his waist, sat at a table in the
cafeteria and asked Sister Geraldine a question.

“Have you all gotten
your Super Bowl bets in?” he said.

Hallman learned the value of writing
clearly in grade school. Her father, Eugene, worked three jobs, including
positions at the post office and bowling alley in Farmington, Mich., and raised
seven children, instructing them to leave homework assignments on the kitchen
table before going to bed so he could review them for presentation. If the
penmanship was sloppy, he tore up the papers and demanded the children re-write
in the morning.

“That

nygsb42champs
02-01-2012, 10:49 AM
Thanks RF. All the articles on victor Cruz what a story this young man has become.

RoanokeFan
02-01-2012, 11:16 AM
Thanks RF. All the articles on victor Cruz what a story this young man has become.

Yes, I agree. But there are so many personal stories about many of our players I think it's helps us understand "who" they are. We already know what they are

BigBlue1971
02-01-2012, 12:14 PM
thanks Roanoke! [B]</P>


Eli and our receivers may have the greatest superbowl ever! [:P]</P>


</P>

GameTime
02-01-2012, 12:30 PM
great story on Hixon. I wish him the best....</P>


Thanks Ro....</P>

RoanokeFan
02-01-2012, 12:37 PM
great story on Hixon. I wish him the best....</p>


Thanks Ro....</p>

Imagine our return game if he was playing?

GameTime
02-01-2012, 02:53 PM
great story on Hixon. I wish him the best....</P>


Thanks Ro....</P>




Imagine our return game if he was playing?
</P>


Hope his recovery goes well. The Giants could def use him. If MM goes elsewhere he would or could be a good fit in his role. </P>

lttaylor56
02-01-2012, 03:24 PM
Thanks RF. Hixon's return game is missed.

RoanokeFan
02-01-2012, 06:09 PM
Thanks RF. Hixon's return game is missed.

It sure is

RoanokeFan
02-01-2012, 06:10 PM
great story on Hixon. I wish him the best....</p>


Thanks Ro....</p>




Imagine our return game if he was playing?
</p>


Hope his recovery goes well. The Giants could def use him. If MM goes elsewhere he would or could be a good fit in his role. </p>

Good point