The Giants have signed free agent cornerback William Gay:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today added depth and experience to their secondary when they signed cornerback William Gay, who never missed a game in his first 11 NFL seasons.
A fifth-round draft choice out of Louisville by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007, he played in all 176 regular-season and 15 postseason games through the end of the 2017 season. He spent 10 of those years with Pittsburgh, and the 2012 season with the Arizona Cardinals.
"It felt like it was a good fit, first and foremost," Gay said of signing with the Giants. "They've got a quarterback. As a veteran, as a guy going into his 12th year, you want to go to a team that has a fast defense and then has a quarterback and weapons on offense. And the Giants have that."
Gay's 176 consecutive games played is tied for the eighth-longest streak among active players, and is the longest by a defensive back.
Gay is the fifth defensive back signed by the Giants this offseason, joining Michael Thomas, B.W. Webb, Curtis Riley and Teddy Williams.
Gay, 5-10 and 187 pounds, was the 170th overall selection of the 2007 NFL Draft. Giants' long-snapper Zak DeOssie was taken with the 116th pick that year. Gay and DeOssie are among 16 players from that draft who are currently on NFL rosters. Darrelle Revis, Adrian Peterson, Brent Celek and Nick Folk are among those currently unsigned who could join them.
"It's been a blessing," Gay said. "Just doing everything the right way in the weight room, taking care of my body, getting those massages, and doing everything you can to make sure you're on the field to help your team win."
Gay has started 101 regular-season games and seven postseason contests. Although he has played in every game for 11 years, he started all 16 games in a season just once (2015).
The 33-year-old Gay's career has an unusual symmetry. He played five years in Pittsburgh before signing with the Cardinals as a free agent on March 25, 2012. Gay started 15 of 16 games that year, but was cut on March 1, 2013. Three days later, he re-signed with the Steelers, for whom he played another five seasons.
"I just love playing defense," Gay said. "It doesn't matter [where I line up]. When you play some Super Bowl-caliber defense, you're playing everything. So I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to meeting the guys, to getting in this weight room, getting to this practice field and to putting that blue on."
Gay's career totals include 563 tackles (463 solo), 7.0 sacks, 13 interceptions, 87 passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. From 2013-15, he returned an NFL-record five consecutive interceptions for touchdowns. In 2014, he led the NFL and set a Steelers record with three touchdowns on interception returns.
Last season, Gay had 19 tackles (16 solo), one interception, three passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
Gay was named Pittsburgh's 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year for his efforts on and off the field and was the recipient of the Steelers' Ed Block Courage Award in 2015.
"I'll bring just everything that I've learned over the past from people that I played under who took me under their wings and I can come in and do the same thing as well," he said. "And just show guys the right way to do things. I'm all about just winning and playing smart and great football."