*Coach Ben McAdoo will return to western Pennsylvania when the Giants meet the Steelers Sunday: *
Before landing his first job in the NFL, Ben McAdoo, among other stops, spent 2003 as an offensive assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. The Panthers operated out of the Rooney Sports Complex, and right across the hall were the Pittsburgh Steelers, who share the facility to this day.
So McAdoo got a firsthand look at one of the league's cornerstone franchises, and 13 years later, he is now the head coach of another with the New York Giants. On Sunday, they meet again.
"It's a class organization," McAdoo said. "I think the world of the organization and the Rooney family and look forward to Sunday."
The road trip is also a homecoming for the first-year coach, who hails from Homer City, Pa., which is roughly 60 miles east of Heinz Field, but there's no time to look back. His 8-3 Giants are riding a six-game winning streak into the month of December, marking the beginning of a five-game finish against teams with a combined record of 34-20-1 after Week 12.
"We're focused on the preparation for the ball game," McAdoo said Wednesday. "That's what everything is about this week. It's about going to Pittsburgh and preparing to beat the Steelers."
So much for nostalgia.
McAdoo shared the same level of emotion when the Giants traveled in October to Green Bay, where he spent eight years as an assistant coach and helped lead the Packers to a victory in Super Bowl XLV over none other than the Steelers.
But he didn't grow up in Green Bay, which begs the question: Which team will Homer City be rooting for in Week 13?
"That's a great question for Homer City," he said.
• Running back Shane Vereen has been designated for return from injured reserve and returned to practice today. He was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 27 after injuring his triceps in the Giants' Week 3 loss to the Washington Redskins. The Giants have 21 days to activate Vereen or he must remain on the injured reserve list for the remainder of the season. At the time of his injury, Vereen led the team in rushing with 147 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. He also has eight receptions for 75 yards this season.
"Man, I wish I knew [the timetable], honestly," Vereen said. "It is up to the doctors. I am progressing, doing everything that they have me do each and every day, just trying to take baby steps and hope enough of the baby steps will be to getting back on the field."
• Safety Nat Berhe (concussion), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion) and defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (knee) did not participate in practice today. Wide receiver/return specialist Dwayne Harris (wrist) and offensive linemen Justin Pugh (knee), Marshall Newhouse (knee), and Brett Jones were limited.
• The Giants today signed safety Christian Bryant to their practice squad. Bryant has played in 11 NFL games: two this season for the Arizona Cardinals and nine last year for the St. Louis Rams. The 5-10, 198-pound Bryant was the Rams' seventh-round draft choice (No. 241 overall) in 2014, from Ohio State. He spent that entire season on St. Louis' practice squad.
Last year, Bryant was credited with three special teams tackles (two solo). This season, he was waived at the end of training camp and signed to the Rams' practice squad. The Cardinals signed Bryant to their practice squad on Oct. 4 and to their active roster on Nov. 1. He was waived Monday after being credited with an assisted special teams tackle in two games.
• Following a career-high three sacks and a fumble-return touchdown against Cleveland in Week 12, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. The Giants have claimed five weekly awards so far this season: three on defense (safety Landon Collins twice and Pierre-Paul), one on offense (wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.) and one on special teams (cornerback Janoris Jenkins). This marked Pierre-Paul's fourth award, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor (nine) & Michael Strahan (five) for most in team history.
"I think it's very impressive the progress he's made since you saw him come back last year to where he is now," McAdoo said, "and the production he's having, the success he's having getting after the quarterback, in the run game as well, and also being able to come up with the loose ball the other day."