Ahmad Bradshaw apparently has no limit to the game day workload he's willing to assume.
In the 2010 and 2011 regular seasons, Bradshaw had 447 rushing attempts, or 148 more than runner-up Brandon Jacobs. This season, the sixth-year running back would be happy if that number increased.
"I'd love to touch the ball every time, every chance I could," Bradshaw said today as the Giants concluded their three-day minicamp.
Bradshaw has been limited by the foot and ankle injuries that have plagued him for several years. He still led the Giants in rushing each of the last two seasons, with 1,235 yards in 2010 and 659 yards last year, when he missed four games. Bradshaw had another procedure on his foot soon after Super Bowl XLVI and said he now feels better than he has in at least three years.
He hopes his improved health will lead to an increased workload.
"I think they see how healthy I am now, how focused I am now," Bradshaw said. "They know I'm always willing to play and win. That's all I can bring to the table, just my attitude toward the game and my attitude toward running the ball."
Although he ran for more yards than any other back the last two years, Bradshaw deferred to the more veteran – and more boisterous – Jacobs as the leader of the running backs. But Jacobs now plays for the San Francisco 49ers and Bradshaw is the senior member of a young corps of backs. The leadership role is one he takes seriously.
"We've filled a lot of good spots without my big brother B-Jac," Bradshaw said. "We got the first round draft pick (David Wilson), we got Danny (Ware), Andre (Brown), and Da'Rel (Scott). We're all going to be a big part of this backfield. I think we all can help and contribute to our offensive game and our rushing attack. I don't know who all is going to be here by the time the season starts, but I think we've got a lot of talent in the room."
But Bradshaw expects to again lead the way.
"I've been here six years, so I've worked for it," he said. "I've put in a lot of work and like I said, hopefully I can be a part of this offense as much as I can, as much as they let me."
*Cornerback Terrell Thomas did not participate in the team drills this spring as he continues to strengthen his surgically-repaired knee (he tore his ACL in a preseason game last Aug. 22). But Thomas is certain he will be on the field when the Giants hold their first training camp practice on July 27.
"I'll be out there," Thomas said. "No limitations, I won't have any. As far as what they have for me, who knows, they might want to take it slow. But come that day - my doctors have already cleared me - I'll be full go."
In Thomas' absence last season, Aaron Ross stepped in as the starting right cornerback. Ross is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars. But the Giants have several talented corners competing for the starting spot opposite Corey Webster, including 2010 first-round draft choice Prince Amukamara and this year's third-round selection, Jayron Hosley.
So is Thomas returning as a starter or as a player who must work his way back into the rotation?
"Both," he said. "Some young guys here are ready to compete. Michael Coe and Justin Tryon had wonderful OTAs, putting pressure on me. And I like it. I like the competition, it's something that can make us all better. We got Prince, we got the 'rook' coming in. It's going to be fun come training camp."
*When he reported to training camp last year, kicker Lawrence Tynes didn't know who his holder would be. Sage Rosenfels and Matt Dodge took their turns catching Zak DeOssie's snaps before punter Steve Weatherford was signed and assumed the holding duties.
The battery of DeOssie, Weatherford and Tynes has returned intact, which the kicker said is a big help as he prepares for the season.
"It's huge for me, mentally," Tynes said. "Obviously, I've made do in the past, but there's a bit of added confidence having Steve and Zak back. We're so close off the field I think that translates to what we're going to do on the field, which is definitely a positive.
"I know the good and the bad of what to expect. I know what we're going to do, how we're going to do it, how we're going to practice, when we're going to practice. We did the same thing all throughout the season, so we've continued that same repertoire throughout OTA's. Nothing changes for us. Minicamp was the same for me as it was during a regular season practice. I think the routine of what we do on a daily basis keeps me - I don't know what the right word is, but it's good to have the same two guys. The consistency of what we're trying to do on a day-to -day basis. I know what to expect from both of them."
*The players will scatter and enjoy some down time before reporting to training camp at the University at Albany six weeks from today.
What was Tom Coughlin's message to his team?
"You can imagine," Coughlin said. "The message is always – at this point in time, at the end of the mandatory minicamp, just reminders on training camp, about our attitude going in, about conditioning. This is a required nine-week program, rather than a normal 10 or 11-week program. So there is still work to be done, obviously. The guys that have been injured and have strains, etc., they have to get that cleaned up so when we come to camp we can practice together. What you want to remind everybody is, if there are 90 players, or in this case maybe 85 or whatever the number will be, look at the reps and how the reps are distributed. Therefore, everybody has a chance to be really in tune with what we are doing. We will preserve, over time, the reps because we will be able to control them better and no individual or group will get to a position when they are doing more than they should. And then you talk about the fact that we are not going to see each other for (six) weeks. The goal is always to win the Super Bowl, be responsible, take care of yourselves, enjoy yourselves, but let's make sure we can all get back together with a smile on our face and a stern look in our eye when we come back together on the 26th. So that is basically the message."
Giants fans are encouraged to register today for the NYRR New York Giants Run of Champions 5K, Presented by Walgreens and Duane Reade. The event will be held Sunday, June 24th, and will benefit the Giants Foundation, which assists youth-related charities throughout the greater New York area. The 5K run and Walk with Walgreens start at* **9:00 a.m., with Play60 kids races beginning at 11:30 a.m. Registration for the run concludes next Tuesday, June 19th.
Runners of all ages and abilities are welcome to take advantage of an opportunity to live every Giants fan's dream: running full-speed into the end zone in MetLife Stadium - without getting tackled! The races will start in the MetLife Stadium parking lot (between lots J and L), continue on the roadways on the perimeter of the stadium parking complex and finish in the north end zone of MetLife Stadium. The Walgreens Walk offers a less sweaty way to join the fun. Walkers follow the same course - high-stepping into the end zone is optional but encouraged. Play60 Kids Races will finish the day, as kids will have their own opportunity to run across the field at MetLife Stadium. After the race, participants can enjoy a behind-the-scenes locker room tour, meet Giants legends, and more. The Giants encourage attendees to visit the Melanoma ExposedTM tent on the stadium plaza for a free on-site skin cancer screening. A full screening only takes about 10 minutes and can save your life.
Complimentary NJ Transit train service from Secaucus Junction to the Meadowlands Sports Complex will be provided to all runners. *This special, chartered NJ Transit service is complimentary for runners, walkers, kids' race participants, friends, family, and spectators. *Trains will depart Secaucus Junction for the Meadowlands at 6:43 a.m., 7:43 a.m. (recommended for runners and walkers), and 8:43 a.m. (recommended for late-arriving spectators and for kids' race participants and their parents). Trains will depart the Meadowlands for Secaucus Junction after the race at 10:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., and 12:45 p.m. *Please note that the trains have limited capacity. *Runners, please have your race number visible in the Secaucus Junction station so that station staff can help direct you to the platform for departure to the stadium. Bicycles are not permitted.
For information and to register, please log on to nygiants5K.nyrr.org