EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Prince Amukamara returned to the practice field today to cover wide receivers, and to shed a label.
The Giants' starting right cornerback had been sidelined for more than a week with a groin injury. He missed the practices and preseason opener in Cincinnati despite accompanying the team there. For someone who loves to play football and is keenly aware of what is said about him, Amukamara was excited to be on the field with his teammates.
"'Injury prone' has always been right next to my name," Amukamara said. "Anytime I'm out for any type of time, it's just natural for that memory to be behind my head. I never want to be out for any reason. So I'm definitely glad to be back."
Since the Giants selected him on the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Amukamara has had a broken foot (costing him much of his rookie season), ankle and hamstring injuries, and last season, a torn biceps that limited him to eight games. He played all 16 games just once, in 2013.
But he looked fit today, taking a lot of reps with the first-team defense.
"I definitely surprised myself," he said. "With a groin injury or any type of soft tissue, you never know how much you can do unless you just do it. So that's what I did. They told me to just go at a controlled speed, and that's what I did. And I was able to do what was required of me."
The Giants don't tackle in practice, but Amukamara created as much contact as he could to help him get acclimated faster.
Photos from Wednesday's Giants Training Camp practice
"I definitely want to thud a little bit, just so I can remember how it feels to hit, to be hit, and just that physical contact," he said. "I'm surprised. My legs feel good. . I felt a little bit, maybe soreness or a little tightness, but nothing too concerning. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. Mentally, going to Cincinnati really helped, because a lot was installed there. I don't think I got any mental errors or any plays that I messed up on."
Amukamara would like to play Saturday night, in the preseason home opener vs. Jacksonville, but knows the medical staff might keep him out another week.
"I'm going to see the doctor, and we'll (plan) accordingly," he said.
*The Giants' top three receivers all missed practice: Odell Beckham Jr. after undergoing dental work yesterday, Victor Cruz with a calf strain, and Ruben Randle with knee tendonitis. That meant more reps for Dwayne Harris, Corey Washington, Preston Parker and Geremy Davis.
Davis, the Giants' sixth-round draft choice, made a nice leaping catch on the left sideline. Harris caught a long pass down the right seam from Eli Manning, and later made a grab in traffic in the middle of the field on a pass from Ricky Stanzi.
- Tom Coughlin came up with another novel contest to end practice. He's already had the offensive and defensive linemen catch punts and the receivers and DBs try to hit the crossbar with passes. The game today featured just one player, long-snapper Zak DeOssie.
From punt-snapping distance (about 15 yards), DeOssie was given seven chances to hit the base of the goal post. Coughlin set the over/under for success at four. The defense selected the over, meaning if DeOssie hit the target at least five times, everyone on the offense would have to do 25 pushups. If he connected no more than three times, the defensive players would hit the ground.
So it's no wonder that each time he put his hands on the ball, Eli Manning leaned over and tried to distract him.
"I missed the first one," DeOssie said. "I missed the second one. Made the next one, missed the next one. And then had to go three-for-three. And then I went three for three."
That made his final total four hits. In betting parlance, that's a push. And no one had to do pushups.
"I'm a man of the people," DeOssie said. "I could go seven-for-seven, no problem. But no one doing pushups, everybody wins."
- Guard Justin Pugh also missed practice after undergoing dental work yesterday. Safety Nat Berhe (calf) participated in individual drills, but not the team periods. Also sitting out were safety Landon Collins (knee), defensive end George Selvie (knee) and cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion).
- Safety Cooper Taylor (toe) returned to practice.
- The last play of practice was Trevin Wade's interception of a Ryan Nassib pass in the two-minute drill.