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2024 Spring Practices

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'Adventurous' Tyrone Tracy Jr. embarks on NFL journey


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Tyrone Tracy, Jr. had never stepped foot in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area before he arrived here Thursday to participate in the Giants' rookie minicamp. The Indiana native is eager to see what the big city is all about.

"I'm an adventurous dude," Taylor said in a post-practice interview. "I like to go out and see the world and make memories and experience things. So yeah, I'm excited to go out and see what's going on. Hopefully, someone can tell me where the good food spots are around here. I know New York is known for food, known for different things. I'm definitely eager to go and experience it.

"I come from Indianapolis, so for me to be in New Jersey, in New York, wearing the New York Giants outfit and helmet and uniform, it's a dream come true, and I'm blessed."

See all the action from rookie minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

As much as he wants to savor what the region has to offer, it is far from Tracy's top priority. No. 1 on the list is football. He was the first of the Giants' six draft choices to sign his contract, followed closely by first-round choice Malik Nabers.

"I'm here to play football," Tracy said. "I'm not really worried about the business side of it. If I do what I do on the football field, everything else will come."

A running back selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, Tracy believes he has the ability and the opening to instantly contribute.

This offseason has brought big changes to the Giants' running backs room. The top two backs from the 2023 roster are no longer here; Saquon Barkley departed as a free agent and Matt Breida is unsigned. Veteran Devin Singletary, who had 4,049 rushing yards in five seasons with Buffalo and Houston, joined the team in March and is expected to take the bulk of the carries this year. The holdover backs – Eric Gray, Gary Brightwell and Jashaun Corbin - totaled 68 yards last season, 48 by Gray, the Giants' fifth-round pick a year ago.

"I feel like I have a good opportunity," Tracy said. "They allow me to showcase my skills. Like I've been asking my whole career, all I needed was opportunity."

He had plenty of them in a collegiate career that lasted six years, the first four at the University of Iowa and the last two at Purdue. Though Tracy predominately played running back at Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis, he was recruited as a wide receiver, where he played his first five seasons in college. Had he stayed at receiver, Tracy admits he likely wouldn't have been drafted.

"At receiver, I might have been an average speed receiver, average size receiver," he said. "At running back, I'm a fast running back, I'm a big running back (6-1, 210). I'm a running back who can catch the ball out of the backfield.

"When you look at how God placed every single thing and allowed my situation to kind of align up, switching to running back from receiver was actually the missing piece to the puzzle."

Tracy moved to the backfield in 2023, when he led the Boilermakers with eight rushing touchdowns and was second with 716 yards on 113 carries, a 6.3-yard average.

In his career, Tracy caught 113 passes – including a career-high 36 in 2019 – a skill he believes will accelerate his chances to quickly help the Giants.

"I think it's a huge advantage," he said. "The league now is turning toward more of a passing league within the running back game. If you're a running back in this NFL today, you have to be able to run the ball well and also catch the ball out of the backfield. So, it's really good that I can do both and I have the receiver background."

Tracy also averaged 25.5 yards on 16 kickoff returns, including a 98-yard touchdown. With the new NFL rules designed to increase the frequency of kickoff returns, Tracy could also contribute on special teams.

"It kind of added a little bit more value to me and really the rest of running backs because that's something we can place in our bag and do on the field and add to our skillset," Tracy said. "I was pretty happy, to say the least."

He can say that about putting on a Giants uniform and playing in the NFL.

"For me to actually be on an NFL team, be on a roster," Tracy said, "it means more to me than people know."

*Tight end Theo Johnson, the Giants' fourth-round draft choice, caught 77 passes and scored 12 touchdowns at Penn State. But one of his primary responsibilities will be blocking, a duty he looks forward to executing.

"That's a big part of my job (when I) was at college in Penn State," Johnson said. "We took a lot of pride in it. We had those big packages, three tight ends, two running backs. I do enjoy it. It's something I take a lot of pride in and something I'm going to continue to work at every day.

"I think naturally it's something you have to work on. I think when you have that right mindset, when it's coached – it can be coached, but some people just have that switch that you can't coach or teach."

*Linebacker Darius Muasau, the team's sixth-round selection, arrived at his outdoor news conference wearing a winter hat in the 65-degree weather. Muasau has a good excuse – he's a native of Hawai'i.

"Oh, man, I'm transitioning very slowly, but I'm learning," Muasau said with a laugh. "I'm adapting, getting acclimated to the weather, the culture, everything out here. But I'm loving every second of it."

When a reporter joked that it was as cold as it gets here, Muasau said, "Okay, good, because that's all I can handle right now. … I bought all my cold gear in Hawai'i - all two jackets that I have."

Has he ever seen snow?

"I played in Wyoming, high altitude, and it was like light snow," Muasau said. "But nothing really crazy. I'm also looking forward to a white Christmas. I haven't seen anything like that in Hawai'i, so I'm just really excited to be here."

*Muasau's special teams coach as a freshman in 2019 was Michael Ghobrial, who is in his first season in that position with the Giants.

"I only played special teams that year," Muasau said. "That's how I contributed to the team. That was my role there. I guess I was on every special team also at the time. I was on kickoff, kickoff return, punt, punt return. That is how I made my money out there. I just love running down, playing the ball, just making plays for the team. Any way to contribute to the team. That's the way I did it.

"Now it's a small world seeing Coach Ghobrial here now. Just a full circle moment having him here. Coming from the University of Hawai'i to now here in New York, it's crazy."

*Brian Daboll has eight new coaches on his staff this year, including coordinators Shane Bowen (defense) and Ghobrial (special teams), and position coaches Joel Thomas (running backs), Tim Kelly (tight ends), Carmen Bricillo (offensive line), and Charlie Bullen (outside linebackers).

The new staff has worked on the field with the veterans in Phase 2 of the offseason program (in which the offense and defense practice on separate fields) and this weekend with the rookies.

"I've been very happy with them," Daboll said. "Very organized. Detailed. They have done a good job. Shane has done a great job leading his group. Very organized, and then Ghoby is full of energy out here, running around. We brought Cam (Achord, a special teams assistant) over from New England, he was special teams coordinator, he's been a good addition. Chuck, Charlie Bullen, has been a really good addition. TK, Tim Kelly, Carm. Again, we are out here, we've been out here for phase two. This will be the second day of rookie camp which is good. Be good to get out here for phase three (when the offense and defense are together) and really get some good practices in."

View photos of the 2024 class reporting for rookie minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.


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