Antrel Rolle believes he & Kenny Phillips can be the best safety tandem in the NFL

Antrel Rolle has been a Giant for a little more than a half-day. And already, he believes he's part of something great.

The $37-million man was asked Saturday during his introductory conference call how good of a pair of safeties he and Kenny Phillips can be.

"The best in the league," Rolle replied. "Hands down."

Rolle and Phillips missed each other at the University of Miami by one year, but they've been friends for a while. Rolle said he actually knew Phillips before the younger Hurricane safety's time at the school began. Rolle presented Phillips with an award while he was a promising high-school player.

"From that point on, I knew he was a stand-up guy, a first-class guy all the way, a dynamic athlete and just a great overall person, a person you want to have on your team," Rolle said. "But most of all, just a great individual in himself."

"He's never going to leave my side now because I'm desperately going to need him," Rolle said. "And we're going to need each other. I'm going to make sure he's doing whatever it takes to get back on the field, be my partner, side by side."

Rolle was in contact with Phillips the past couple of weeks, as he knew his time with the Cardinals might be over. Arizona wanted to avoid paying Rolle a $4 million roster bonus, so the team was set to cut Rolle loose - with the hope of re-signing him.

Though the Cardinals made a push for Rolle the past two days, the opportunity to play alongside Phillips and other factors led him to start anew in East Rutherford.

"I was extremely excited when this opportunity presented itself, to be back there with your own guy and a guy that I know his potential will be maximized and my potential will be maximized with him," Rolle said. "And I think we’re going to push each other. It’s going to be a dynamic duo."

What makes him think that will be the case?

"I know what we’re capable of," he said. "And also, I know as a unit, what abilities we have to get things done. It’s just going to be up to us to establish that relationship and that chemistry to make sure we’re on the same page and to make sure that we’re all one within this secondary backfield. The sky’s the limit for us. We’re definitely going to go out there and make things happen."

Plus, they'll be able to do so as similar, interchangeable players.

The days of strong and free safeties for many NFL teams are pretty much long gone. Teams now use their safeties to roll their coverage to either side, meaning on any given play one safety will have a different responsibility than he had the play before.

Rolle said defensive coordinator Perry Fewell suggested that will be the case with him and Phillips.

"I think that’s the way they’re going to look at us because, without a doubt, we’re both interchangeable safeties," Rolle said. "We’re both are very versatile, we can handle multiple positions and multiple tasks at hand. That will best benefit our secondary back there."

One more question: who gets to wear the No. 21?

"That’s his jersey. He’s been a Giant before I got here, he’s earned that jersey," said Rolle, who is unsure what his new number will be. "That’s a very valuable number to me, but I’m going to be in a new system. It’s time for me to start over and make a new number for myself, and I will do that."

UPDATE Rolle will wear No. 26, the Giants have announced.

Click here to order Antrel Rolle's or Kenny Phillips' proCane Rookie Card.

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