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Giants Now (1/30): Gronk shows love for Joe Judge, ESPN hails Slayton for strong rookie campaign, Saquon talks about being a 'girl dad'


The regular season may be over, but there is still a ton going on around the New York Giants. Here are some of the big stories surrounding the Giants from Thursday, January 30.

Rob Gronkowski shows love for Head Coach Joe Judge

Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski spent all nine of his NFL seasons in New England, racking up four All-Pro nominations along with five trips to the Pro Bowl. While most of his playing time came on offense, Gronkowski did record 97 career snaps on special teams, including 78 during Joe Judge's first season with the Patriots back in 2012.

He may not have spent a lot of time on the Giants head coach's unit during his playing career, but Gronkowski had nothing but great things to say about Judge.

"He's out of control in all ways," Gronkowski said during an ‘NFL on Fox’ Super Bowl media panel. "He's fun to be around, he has a lot of great jokes and they're funny. He had me laughing many times in meetings… He's out of control and I love it. He's a great coach for the Giants organization. He has so much passion for the game, and that's what you need if you want to be a coach. You have to love the game of football to the max and that's what he does. He knows the game of football inside and out."

ESPN hails Darius Slayton for strong rookie campaign

Darius Slayton put together an impressive rookie campaign. Taken at No. 171 in last April's NFL Draft, the 6-foot-1 receiver reeled in 48 passes for 740 yards and eight touchdowns. Slayton finished at or near the top of the rookie leaderboard in several receiving categories, and caught multiple touchdowns in three different games. The rookie out of Auburn was the 18th wide receiver selected in last year's draft.

As ESPN’s Jordan Raanan noted in a feature on Slayton, "Slayton, 23, certainly did not finish as the 18th-most productive rookie receiver, as he was right there alongside Tennessee's A.J. Brown, Washington's Terry McLaurin and Seattle's DK Metcalf. Slayton was fifth among the rookie group with 740 receiving yards and tied for first with eight touchdowns.

Also, Slayton became the first rookie receiver drafted in the fifth round or later with eight receiving touchdowns in a season since Marques Colston with the Saints in 2006, according to ESPN Stats & Information."

Saquon on being a 'girl dad'

Earlier this week, ESPN anchor Elle Duncan shared a touching story about her one encounter with NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who passed away Sunday in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna and seven other people. During their conversation, Bryant told Duncan how much he enjoyed being a father to girls, telling her, "I would have five more girls if I could. I'm a girl dad." After ESPN aired this clip on SportsCenter, social media became flooded with fathers from all over the world sharing pictures with their daughters, expressing their appreciation for life as a "girl dad."

In the week leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, Giants star running back Saquon Barkley welcomed his daughter, Jada Clare Barkley, to the world. Barkley has spoken at length about what fatherhood means to him, but this week, the running back explained just how much he loves being a "girl dad."

"Yes, I'm a girl dad. I had me a little girl, Jada Clare Barkley," Barkley said while in Miami for the Super Bowl. "She's my everything. She's my world. Obviously, with the devastating event that happened with Kobe and Gigi, one of the first things that came to my mind was I wanted to just pick up the phone and tell my daughter I love her. You never know your time on this world, and you never know how long your life is going to be. You definitely want to let the people that you know that you love them. For me, that one special person is my daughter."

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