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Terrell Thomas wins Defensive award


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Terrell Thomas' inspiring comeback from two knee surgeries reached another milestone today when he was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

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The sixth-year cornerback, who missed the entire 2011 and 2012 seasons after undergoing surgeries to repair his ACL, was one of the Giants' defensive catalysts in their 15-7 victory Sunday over the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Thomas led the Giants with a season-high 11 tackles (10 solo) – no other Giant had more than five - a sack and a forced fumble.

He made his most significant contribution with 1:14 remaining in the first half and the Giants leading, 12-0. The Eagles had a first down at the Giants' two-yard line and seemed poised to cut into the Giants' cushion. But the threat ended when, on first down, Thomas chased down quarterback Matt Barkley, sacking him and forcing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Jacquian Williams. Philadelphia's offense never got closer to the goal line than the Giants' 32 after that.

The sack was the third of Thomas' career and his first since Nov. 28, 2010, when he brought down Jacksonville's David Garrard.

Thomas led the Giants in tackles, interceptions and passes defensed in 2009 and 2010 before knee injuries in back-to-back years put his career in jeopardy. Thomas missed the early portion of training camp this summer with a strained hamstring and skips practice at least once a week to decrease the stress on his knee. The program has helped him again become one of the Giants' most valuable defensive players.

"We're very pleased with his progress," secondary/cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta said yesterday. "We wanted to bring him along very slowly and gradually, we were hoping to get a few plays a game out of him. But to be able to go out and play 58 snaps against Philadelphia was great. He's been a great bonus for us defensively. He's getting to the point now where he's starting to get his timing back and feeling more comfortable. He's been close, but he just hasn't made the plays that he had made in the past. He's made tackles, he's been close.

"In this game he had a caused fumble, he's been there to make plays on the ball, he just missed a hand on another one to (Jason) Avant, so the timing and the confidence and everything is starting to come back. You're starting to see the old Terrell. Certainly he's not back to where he was, but he's very, very close to where he was before his injury."

In presenting Thomas with a game ball during the Giants' Monday team meeting, head coach Tom Coughlin said in front of Thomas's teammates, "Welcome back, Terrell!"

Thomas is the first Giants cornerback to be named Defensive Player of the Week since Aaron Ross in Week 11 of the 2008 season. The other Giants corners to win the award since its inception in 1984 are Everson Walls (1990), Jason Sehorn (twice in 1997) and Phillippi Sparks (1998).

This is the 37th time a Giants player has received the award. Two Giants defenders were honored in 2012: Antrel Rolle (Week 6) and Stevie Brown (Weeks 8 and 17).

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