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Giants reach NFL's new 80-man roster limit

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today waived eight players to reach the NFL's newly-significant roster limit of 80 players.

Four of the released players have regular-season experience – running back Jon Hilliman, linebacker Chris Peace, safety Rashaan Gaulden and cornerback Shakial Taylor, who was awarded to the Giants off waivers on Tuesday. Also waived were four rookie or first-year players, including quarterback Case Cookus of Northern Iowa, fullback George Aston of Pittsburgh, and linebackers Oluwole Betiku, Jr. of Illinois and Dana Levine of Temple.

WR Da'Mari Scott informed the team he will opt out of the 2020 season. Scott is the second Giant to opt out after tackle Nate Solder announced on Wednesday he, too, will not play this year.

Each team was permitted to begin training camp last week with a traditional 90-man roster. But any team remaining at that number would have to split its squad for all activities, with only half its players allowed in that team's facility at a time. The Giants have split into three workout groups for weightlifting and conditioning but most days end with full-squad walk-throughs, which would be prohibited with a 90-man roster. Any team with the larger group of players could not bring them all into its building at one time until Aug. 17, the first day of full-pads practice and when all teams must have no more than 80 players.

The Giants' roster count is currently 81, which includes running back Sandro Platzgummer of Austria, who does not count against the roster as an international pathway exemption.

View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.

Hilliman played in three games, including a start at New England, in his 2019 rookie season. He finished with 30 carries, the third-highest total on the team, for 91 yards and three receptions. Hilliman had season-high totals of 11 carries for 38 yards, including a season-long 10-yard run, against the Patriots. He was waived two days after the game and spent the remainder of the season on the Giants' practice squad.

Peace, also a rookie in 2019, was awarded off waivers to the Giants on Sept. 30, after beginning the season with the Los Angeles Chargers. He played in four games for the Giants (two snaps on defense, 18 on special teams) but was not credited with a tackle.

Gaulden, who played 15 games for the Carolina Panthers in 2018, joined the Giants' practice squad on Dec. 4 and active roster on Dec. 18, 2019. He had seven special teams snaps in the season finale vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 29.

Aston spent the final week of the 2019 season on the Giants' practice squad and signed a reserve/futures contract on Dec. 30.

Cookus, Betiku and Levine all signed with the Giants as undrafted free agents soon after the conclusion of the draft on April 25.

Taylor was released by the Denver Broncos on Monday. He played in five games last season for the Indianapolis Colts, who signed him as a rookie free agent. Taylor was waived by the Colts on Nov. 25 and awarded the following day to Denver. He did not play in any games for the Broncos.

Scott had been preparing to play this second season with the Giants and third in the NFL. He did two stints with the Giants last year. Scott was awarded to the team off waivers on July 24, one day after being released by the Buffalo Bills. He was waived Aug. 21. The Giants signed Scott to their practice squad on Oct. 2 and to their active roster on Nov. 27.

Scott played in five games with two starts and had two receptions for 22 yards, a 5.3-yard average on six punt returns with a long runback of 12 yards, and a 27.5-yard average on four kickoff returns with a long of 35.

In the Giants' victory in Washington on Dec. 22, Scott gained five yards on his only rushing attempt, caught one pass for 11 yards, returned two kickoffs for 59 yards, including the 35-yarder, and two punts for six yards. He was the first Giants player with a rushing attempt, reception, kickoff return and punt return in the same game since Kalif Raymond vs. Kansas City on Nov. 19, 2017.

Scott played three games for the Bills in 2018 but had no receptions.

View photos of the Giants taking the field for conditioning drills as training camp gets underway.

*The Giants also signed rookie defensive back Jarren Williams of the University at Albany.

Williams, 5-10 and 187 pounds, spent his final college season at Albany after playing three years at St. Francis (Pa.) College. In 11 games (10 starts) for the Great Danes last year, he had 45 tackles (33 solo), including three stops for loss, one forced fumble, six pass breakups and one interception, which he returned 63 yards for a touchdown vs. Bryant on Sept. 7. At St. Francis, Williams played in 31 games and recorded 53 tackles, 14 pass breakups and one interception.

*The Giants were awarded rookie wide receiver Tony Brown off waivers yesterday, 24 hours after he was released by the Cleveland Browns. Brown, 6-1 and 192 pounds, had signed with the Browns as an undrafted free agent on May 5. He played in 47 collegiate games, 24 at Texas Tech (2015-16) and 23 at Colorado (2018-19). Brown's career totals included 114 receptions for 1,409 yards and seven touchdowns in his college career. He caught 87 passes for 1,031 yards and seven touchdowns (six receiving, one rushing) at Colorado. As a senior in 2019, he tied for the team lead with 56 catches for 707 yards and five touchdowns. The previous season, Brown finished third on the team in both receptions (32) and yards (333) and scored one touchdown. In his two seasons at Texas Tech, Brown recorded 27 receptions for 378 yards and one touchdown. He is a native of La Mirada, Calif.

*Defensive tackle Leonard Williams (hamstring) has been designated with a non-football injury.

In a new "Giants Life" premiering Tuesday, Coach Joe Judge gives a tour of the new-look Training Camp

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