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Giants Now 8/10: Leonard Williams happy to be back

NOW-0810

Leonard Williams happy to be back with Giants

Defensive tackle Leonard Williams told the media on Friday that, while it's always in the player's interest to get a long-term deal, he is glad to be back with the Giants on the franchise tag.

"I'm just happy to be here, play with this team again, and learn about the guys that I've been with since last year," Williams said. "I got to know them a little bit more and play again with them this year. I've just been training hard and was ready for anything to happen. I was just trying to stay ready so I didn't have to get ready."

Williams signed his non-exclusive franchise tag in April, meaning he is under contract for the 2020 season at the salary assured by the tag, which is based on the average of the top five salaries from his position.

The Giants acquired Williams, a former first-round draft choice, on Oct. 29, 2019 from the Jets for two draft choices – a third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

"I kind of knew the situation I was coming off of last year," Williams said. "I think it's actually a good opportunity for myself. I'm looking at it as an opportunity. I'm not looking at it as something that's bad. I'm looking at it as an opportunity."

Williams added, "I wouldn't say I have something to prove necessarily. I think the coaches know and my teammates know what I bring to the table or I wouldn't be here. I definitely still feel like I'm playing with a chip on my shoulder at the same time, though. I'm ready to just go out here and play the best that I can. It starts today. It starts one day at a time. I'm not looking towards the future or next offseason or what's going to happen a year from now. I'm just trying to get better right now and see what I can do for my team."

Reports: Giants plan to sign CB Ross Cockrell, WR Cody White, OT Jackson Dennis

Three days before their first full-squad training camp practice, the Giants are planning to sign a veteran cornerback to bolster their secondary and a pair of rookie free agents on offense, according to numerous media reports.

The corner is a familiar face, Ross Cockrell, who played for the team in 2017. Wide receiver Cody White of Michigan State and tackle Jackson Dennis of Holy Cross are the rookies.

The players cannot formally join the Giants until they pass COVID-19 testing protocols and a physical.

Cockrell, 6-0 and 190 pounds, spent the previous two years with Carolina. Last year, he started 11 games opposite cornerback James Bradberry, who was the first veteran free agent the Giants signed in March and is now expected to anchor their defensive backfield.

Cockrell has played in 68 regular-season games with 43 starts with Pittsburgh, Carolina and the Giants, and in five postseason games with three starts. His career totals include 217 tackles (166 solo), seven interceptions he has returned for 133 yards (19.0-yard avg.), 44 passes defensed, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in the regular season, and 18 tackles (16 solo) and one fumble recovery in the postseason.

In 2019, Cockrell played in 14 games with 11 starts for Carolina. Cockrell finished sixth on the team – just behind Bradberry - with 62 tackles (48 solo), including three stops for loss. He added two interceptions he returned for 70 yards and eight passes defensed.

Cockrell spent the entire 2018 season on injured reserve after fracturing his left leg in training camp.

In his first season with the Giants in 2017, Cockrell played in all 16 games with nine starts – three at left cornerback and six as an extra defensive back. He finished the season with 49 tackles (37 solo), 11 passes defensed, and a career-high three interceptions, which tied him for the team lead.

Cockrell entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft choice by the Buffalo Bills in 2014. The Duke product did not play that season and made his NFL debut the following year, when he played 15 regular-season and two postseason games for the Steelers.

View photos from the career of defensive back Ross Cockrell.

White, 6-3 and 215 pounds, was signed as a free agent following the NFL Draft by the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, who waived him on July 29. White is the son of Sheldon White, a defensive back who played six seasons in the NFL, including in 1988-89 with the Giants.

Cody White played in 35 games with 26 starts at Michigan State. He finished his career ranked seventh in MSU history with 143 receptions, 12th with 1,967 receiving yards and tied for 16th with 12 touchdown catches. White compiled 2,115 all-purpose yards (1,967 receiving, 85 punt return, 63 rushing) and had five career 100-yard receiving games. In 2019, he was named honorable mention All-Big Ten after finishing fourth in the league with 66 catches, for 922 yards and six touchdowns, all career-high totals.

Dennis, 6-7 and 308 pounds, was signed by the Arizona Cardinals following the draft and was waived on July 26 when the team cut its roster to 80 players.

Dennis played in 40 games with 24 starts in five seasons at Holy Cross. In 2019, he started all 12 games at right tackle for an offense that averaged 135.9 rushing yards per game and scored 18 rushing touchdowns.

View photos from the career of wide receiver Cody White.

Zak DeOssie announces retirement

Statement from two-time Super Bowl champion Zak DeOssie:

I am retiring from football.

As many of you know, I made this decision months ago, but I wanted to make a formal announcement to acknowledge those who have made this experience so awesome - and this milestone so bittersweet.

To everyone at the New York Football Giants - teammates, coaches, trainers, management, ownership, and everyone else who impacted my career and daily experience in big and small ways: I can't thank you enough for the best 13 years of my life. I have worked with, and for, the best of the best, and that has made me better in every way, every single day. I am forever grateful for the opportunity, the lifelong friendships, and ten lifetimes worth of memories - the big wins on big stages, the tiny victories behind the scenes, and the challenges that have taught me so much. Eli said it best: Once a Giant, Always a Giant, Only a Giant. What an honor.

To my friends, mentors, and colleagues across the league: I wish you all the best. To those carrying the Giants torch forward, I can't wait to cheer you on from the sidelines as your biggest fan. Bring us another championship!

To the best fans in the league: thank you for your fierce loyalty and passionate support, and for always demanding the best. This is New York - you deserve the best. I'm honored to join Giants Nation in a new capacity.

To my NFLPA colleagues: thank you for your noble work advocating for players' rights, and for the privilege of serving with you for the last decade.

To Brown University and Phillips Academy Andover: thank you for how you celebrated me not only as a football player, but also as a student and a person.

To Katie, my amazing wife, and our two beautiful boys: thank you, for everything. Win, lose, or draw, the biggest privilege has always been, and always will be, coming home to you.

To Dad: thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to make this journey, and especially this moment, mean so much. You have been the best mentor, advocate, and friend through it all. Three rings for the DeOssies (so far) - but we have so much more than that to celebrate together, in the past and going forward.

To Mom and my sisters: thank you for all of your sacrifices to allow for this knuckle-head to chase his dream for so long. We have so many great memories, but only better ones to look forward to.

To my family and friends: thank you for your endless support, screaming your hearts out at games, for your texts and calls in wins and losses, and for teaching your friends what a long snapper is. You're the real MVPs.

Head down, hands steady, produce results. I learned from my time with the Giants that hard work pays off. As I walk away from the game as a player, I thankfully get to keep that mentality - and I'm excited to bring it to my new role in Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs. I have had the tremendous opportunity to work and learn at GS in my off-seasons, and am thrilled to be re-joining my team to deliver championship-level energy, effort, consistency, and results.

Thank you all. Go Giants!

- #51

View photos from the career of two-time Super Bowl champion long snapper and special teams captain Zak Deossie.

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