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Rutgers alum RB Joe Martinek right at home

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Six years ago, he became New Jersey's all-time leading rusher.

Four years ago, he made his Rutgers debut.

This morning, Joe Martinek put on a Giants helmet for the first time.

"You get little chills thinking what type of organization this is and what type of opportunity they're giving me," the running back said during his first media session of rookie minicamp in East Rutherford. "So that's why I'm trying to do the best I can at it and get the most out of this opportunity."

For Marktinek, that chance did not come via the draft. Instead, he'll battle for a roster spot taking the undrafted rookie route along with seven others who have signed with the defending champions.

Martinek played tailback in Friday's practice and said he's "getting a lot of reps there."

But a hybrid role would be nothing new for the 2006 Gatorade New Jersey State High School Player of the Year who switched to fullback in his final season with the Scarlet Knights. Before the transition, he had his most productive year statistically as a running back in 2009 with 206 carries for 967 yards (4.7-yard average) and nine touchdowns. A lingering ankle injury then set him back in 2010.

But now, along with the rest of the 2012 rookie class, minicamp is a time to bring the résumé to life.

"I think the first impression was good," said Martinek, who had 7,589 rushing yards and 80 touchdowns at Hopatcong High School. "I think I can speak for a lot of guys when I say you've got to get into the playbook. The different terminologies are frustrating at times, but you've got to get into the playbook, you've got to remember, and just keep following the schedule and just do whatever you're asked to do."

If it wasn't for the Giants' call, Martinek might have been making the much longer commute to Tampa, where his former college mentor Greg Schiano is in his first season as the Buccaneers head coach.

"I was in contact with coach Schiano," Martinek said. "He made me into the person I am today after spending the past five years with him. But this is the better fit for me. I love the feeling that I get when I'm in this building, and I'm happy to be here."

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