Antrel Rolle

Antrel Rolle Has Solid Game on Sunday

Antrel Rolle had a decent game against the Rams. He finished with five solo tackles and one pass deflection.

Fantasy Impact: Rolle has been solid since returning from injury three weeks ago. Rolle usually finished with a decent amount of tackles and has been strong against the pass. If you need a fill-in option for a bye week, Rolle could be that guy.

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Antrel Rolle could return Sunday against Vikings

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Chicago Bears safety Antrel Rolle admitted Wednesday that his high ankle sprain is expected to cause him discomfort the rest of the season.
Rolle returned to practice in limited fashion on Wednesday.

“I feel all right,” Rolle said. “I’m still grinding and I’m still working. I’m trying to get back to 100 percent. You know, it’s going to be a constant grind, it’s going to be a constant grind for the rest of the year. I’ve had this injury before and it’s an injury that pretty much you feel all season long. It’s just a matter of pain tolerance and feeling comfortable with running and breaking and all that good stuff.

Rolle missed the Bears’ last two games after injuring his ankle in Chicago’s 22-20 victory over the Raiders on Oct. 4. Before experiencing the Week 4 setback, Rolle had played in every regular-season game since 2009.

Rolle has not ruled out playing against the Vikings at Soldier Field this Sunday.

“The bye came with perfect timing,” Rolle said. “I’m still trying to push it, still trying to evaluate where I am for Sunday. Sunday has always been my timing point, and I haven’t shied away from that goal yet. I’m just going to keep pushing and keep grinding, and hopefully I’ll be able to be out there with the guys on Sunday.”

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Antrel Rolle: 'There's no timetable for when I'll return'

The loss of Antrel Rolle could prove a significant one for the Bears.

As for how long they'll be without one of their starting safeties, it sounds like we'll just have to wait and see.

"There's no timetable for when I'll return," Rolle told CSN's Pat Boyle on Tuesday night's edition of The Antrel Rolle Show. "Just going to start grinding, day in and day out, and try to make the best of it."

The good news is that the injury isn't more serious. Rolle said that when the play happened, he was concerned that his ankle was facing in the opposite direction. That wasn't the case, and Rolle is confident he'll be back soon.

"Very fortunate, could've been a lot worse," he said. "It kind of happened in slow motion for me. I felt the pressure on my leg. Going down, collapsing to my knee, I knew I couldn't sustain that pressure. So I was able to twist and turn my body a little bit. I took a pretty good pounding, but ... it's just an ankle injury. I'll bounce back in no time.

"I didn't think along those lines, but I did think my ankle was faced the opposite way. I was scared to look down to see what my ankle was looking like. Once I saw it straight, I was like, 'OK, good.'"

Check out more from The Antrel Rolle Show in the videos below.

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Antrel Rolle: 'Thank God nothing is broken'

Bears safety Antrel Rolle feels fortunate. When his right ankle was contorted on the first play of scrimmage in the second half, he was scared to look.

“I thought it would be facing the other way,” Rolle said....

But it wasn’t, and the X-rays were full of good news, too. Nothing was broken. So Rolle made sure to rejoin his team on the sideline to cheer on their 22-20 victory against the Raiders at Soldier Field on Sunday.

“That was extremely important to me to be out there with my guys,” Rolle said. “They played outstanding.”

As far as his injury, Rolle promised to back as soon as possible. He said didn’t know if he had a high-ankle sprain, but he was in a protective walking boot.

“Thank God nothing is broken,” said Rolle, who was transported by cart to the locker room when he was hurt. “It could have been a lot worse than what it really is. The X-rays came back negative. … I’m going to keep grinding and just keep on pushing. I plan on being back in no time.

“It got rolled up pretty bad. It’s a part of the game. I’m just glad I was able to get up and walk off the field. … It’s time to rehab and grind.

Rolle last missed a game in 2009, when he sat out the season finale with a thigh injury. Against the Raiders, Rolle was replaced by rookie Harold Jones-Quartey, an undrafted rookie who was claimed off waivers from the Cardinals.

“I’m a fighter, man,” Rolle said. “My body heals fairly well. … I don’t like missing time.”

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Antrel Rolle has his best game as a Bear

The Bears secondary has been struggling this year. Most of their struggles came from their corners, but even their safeties have done little to stand out. Antrel Rolle stood out more on Sunday and recorded his best statistical day as a Bear. The veteran recorded seven solo tackles and three assists.

Fantasy Impact: Rolle has not lived up to his IDP pre-draft value. This mostly has to do with teams attacking the Bears' corners on the outside. Rolle finally had a decent day as a fantasy player, but he needs to be even better. No one can take his leadership skills for granted, but those skills do not always translate to fantasy points. I expect Rolle to continue to get better as the season progresses; making him the only secondary option from the Bears' worth considering in IDP leagues.

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Antrel Rolle compares this year's Bears team to old Cardinals squad

Chicago Bears safety Antrel Rolle will take on one of his former teams this weekend, when the Arizona Cardinals pay a visit to Soldier Field this Sunday. Recently, Rolle reflected on his early career and drew comparisons between his current team and the one that eventually reached Super Bowl XLIII.

That Cardinals team selected Rolle with the eighth-overall pick in the 2008 draft. The team wasn't very good when he first landed in Arizona, but they rose steadily and learned how to win over the years.

Rolle said these Bears can do the same thing, per Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune:

That group was a lot like this group. We weren't good my first two years there. … But we jelled and we jelled fast. We weren't always the most athletic team. We weren't always the most talented team. But we played together and we played fast. And we fought with every inch of our body.

This team is going to get to that.

Although Rolle's Cardinals lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in their only Super Bowl appearance, the veteran safety went on to win one with the New York Giants after the 2011 season. The 32-year-old has been to three Pro Bowls knows what it takes to achieve greatness.

Rolle's experience will help guide a Bears team that is still searching for its identity.

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Antrel Rolle on preseason: 'I don't take any game lackadaisically'

Chicago Bears safety Antrel Rolle is in his 12th NFL season, and yet the 32-year-old veteran's not the least bit jaded by the preseason.

"I pretty much go in and I attack it the same way," Rolle said, per Kevin Fishbain of Chicago Football. "Whenever I’m on the field, I come to play. I don’t take any game lackadaisically. I come in and I play every opponent as if it’s the eighth game of the season. It doesn’t matter who it is or who the opponent is or what the magnitude of the game. I always come to play whenever I touch the green."

Rolle was signed in free agency this offseason, partially because of the intensity that shines through in his play. Another factor that makes him an alluring acquisition is his Super Bowl experience. Rolle knows what it takes to hoist the Lombardi Trophy from his time with the New York Giants (2010-2014); he also knows what it feels like to lose on the game's biggest stage from his time with the Arizona Cardinals (2005-2009).

Still adjusting to his third NFL franchise, Rolle is starting to feel a level of comfort with the Bears.

"I feel fairly comfortable. Obviously, you’re always working toward that extreme comfort zone, I don’t think that comes until you win the Super Bowl," Rolle said, via Chicago Football. "Right now, we’re gelling, we’re working together and more importantly, we’re finding ways to get W’s."

The Bears are rebuilding their defense under new coordinator Vic Fangio, and they're counting on Rolle to help smooth the transition with his veteran leadership.

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Antrel Rolle relishes his new role

BOURBONNAIS -- Being asked to come to a new team and immediately take on a position of leadership can be a heavy burden -- but not if you're Antrel Rolle of the Chicago Bears.

It comes easy to the 32-year-old three-time Pro Bowl safety because he has the numbers, the confidence, the experience and the talent to handle his new role on his new team.

"You either got it or you don't," Rolle says with the self-assured air of a guy who's been there and done that.

"My resume probably speaks for itself, but that means nothing to me right now. It shouldn't mean anything to them.

"It's all about what I do once I'm here. Every year presents it's own new set of challenges, and I like to take each year as a new year and work on different things, always trying to get better at something."

The Bears gave Rolle a three-year $11.25 million contract in the off-season as one of their marquee free-agent signings.

He spent the previous five seasons with the New York Giants, where he started all 80 games and had 15 of his 26 career interceptions, including 9 in the last two years.

Rolle has returned 4 of his picks for touchdowns, including 3 in 2007.

The Bears are counting on more than leadership from Rolle. They've been in need of a talent upgrade and more consistency for most of the past 12 years, since the state of Lovie Smith's regime.

The situation at safety has been one of ever-changing mediocrity.

Ryan Mundy came in a year ago and provided some stability, starting all 16 games at strong safety, leading the team by a wide margin with 85 solo tackles and tying for the team lead with 4 interceptions.

He and 2014 fourth-round pick Brock Vereen, who started five games last season, are waging a training camp battle for the right to start alongside Rolle.

From 2004-11, the Bears' starters at strong and free safety changed 56 times.

Major Wright and Chris Conte provided some continuity at the position for the next couple years, but neither played well enough to be considered a long-term answer.

"I was aware of it," Rolle said of the Bears' checkered past at the safety position. "I knew that there was a need for a safety here. I was more than happy to come in and fill that role.

"I feel like I'm definitely going to be a versatile player and make a lot of plays in the secondary."

That appears to be a given for the 11th-year veteran, who has been making plays since the Arizona Cardinals drafted him in the first round (eighth overall) in 2005.
"I've always found my way on the field," said Rolle, who has missed just one game in the previous nine seasons. "I'm no stranger to that. If you don't get action, you find action."

Rolle always seem to finds it, yet he almost always escapes unscathed. Despite being in on 788 tackles in his career, the 6-foot, 206-pounder has been an iron man, starting 143 of the last 144 games.

At an age when most NFL players have retired or are on the their last legs, Rolle just keeps on rolling.

How does he do it?

"Work," he said. "All work. I never stop. To me, age is nothing but a number because I can still go out here and outrun this guy and run with that guy all day. It doesn't matter to me.

"I feel like a lot of this is in your mind. Your mind is going to pretty much control everything. I don't go out there and see myself as a 32-year-old; I see myself as a player. Make plays when the opportunity presents itself."

That's the kind of leader needed on a Bears defense that was the NFL's worst in points allowed and second worst in passing yards allowed last season -- one who leads by example.

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Antrel Rolle likes playing Aaron Rodgers but why?

It’s always good to say the right things for any player or coach coming into a new situation.

For example, when you come to the Bears, it’s good to say things like “love the city,” “hard-nosed football” and show your disdain for the Packers.

That must have been what new safety Antrel Rolle was aiming at when he rolled into training camp and spoke with the media.

When Bears fans saw this, it had to fire them up. Rah, rah! Yeah, let’s get them Packers!! Finally, a Chicago safety who’s not afraid to strap it on against noted Bears slayer Aaron Rodgers.

It got me wondering, though, why does Rolle, a 10-year veteran with the Cardinals and Giants, like playing so much against Rodgers and the Packers. The guy’s had pretty good success in the NFL, you know, not just against the Bears.

Let’s take a look.

Rolle must be thinking of the Giants’ 27-13 victory over the Packers in 2013 where he had one interception. Er, wait, Scott Tolzien started at QB for the Packers that day.

Ah, here it is. In 2012, Rolle had five tackles in a 38-10 win over the Packers. Rodgers was 14-of-25 for a paltry 219 yards, but almost half of that yardage came on deep balls.

In 2011, the Giants came up just short to the Packers, losing 38-35 in a shootout. Rodgers blistered the Giants’ secondary for 369 yards and four touchdowns.
How about that 2010 game against the Pack?

Nope. Rodgers threw for 404 yards—113 to deep middle—and four TDs in a 37-25 victory over the Giants.

Rolle has no other appearances against Aaron Rodgers in his career.

Be careful what you wish for.

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Antrel Rolle on Chicago Bears defense: 'We're going to click'

Veteran safety Antrel Rolle hasn't been with the Chicago Bears very long, but he's already confident that his new defensive unit will come together.

"I think it's going to work great," Rolle told John Mullin of CSN Chicago. "We've got the young guys pushing us and the veteran leadership there, too. We're all flying around. The veterans just have to lead by example. We want to be a force.

"We're going to grow, but this is a good group to grow with.

"The chemistry of this group is excellent. It's going to take some time, but I feel like we're going to click."

The Bears do have an enviable mix of youth and experience on the defensive side of the ball. Up-and-coming draft picks, such as cornerback Kyle Fuller and nose tackle Eddie Goldman, are complemented nicely by seasoned veterans like Rolle, Jared Allen and Jay Ratliff.

Rolle, who appeared in a Super Bowl with the Cardinals and later won one with the Giants, has 10 seasons of NFL experience under his belt. At 32 years of age, he's still playing some of his best football, too, with nine of his 26 career interceptions coming the past two seasons.

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Ranking the Bears' roster: No. 9, Antrel Rolle

Name: Antrel Rolle
Position: Safety
Experience: 11 years
2015 base salary: $1 million ($3.9 million roster bonus)

2014 recap: Rolle never missed a game in New York after signing a five-year, $37.1 million contract with the Giants before the 2010 season. A two-time team captain, Rolle recorded 87 tackles, three interceptions and one forced fumble for the Giants last season. Rolle, 32, finished his career in New York with 464 tackles and 14 interceptions over five seasons with the Giants. The veteran also played a key role in New York’s Super Bowl XLVI title. Before he joined the Giants, Rolle spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals. Despite his age, the three-time Pro Bowl selection (2009, 2010 and 2013) showed few signs of slowing down in 2014. The Giants wanted Rolle to return in free agency, but were not prepared to match Chicago’s offer of three years, $11.25 million with around $5 million in guarantees.

2015 outlook: The Bears envision Rolle as one of their top team leaders on defense. Coaches said privately in June that they were extremely pleased with Rolle’s performance in the offseason program, even though the safety had to miss a little time because of the birth of his child. Rolle and Ryan Mundy are expected to bring stability to safety, a problem area on defense for years. Rolle and Mundy’s chemistry should not be an issue -- the two teammates previously played together for a year in New York. Because of Rolle’s experience, he’ll be counted on to help some of the younger players. So far, there is no hint of buyer’s remorse on the Bears' part. If Rolle continues to stay healthy, he should be an immediate upgrade in Chicago’s secondary.

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Antrel Rolle posts Instagram message to ex-Giants teammate Jason Pierre-Paul

This is just a message so you all can take it however you want..... Many people worry about football, the money, all things that can be replaced in the blink of an eye. I am just happy that my boy has his health. This was a freakish accident that could have happened to anyone. Every year I do fire works for the kids in my family and some of the kids in the neighborhood. Have been doing it for 7 years strong already. So my point is this could have happened to anyone including myself. Sometimes trying to do a good deed can have the opposite affect as it did in this situation. My focus point here is health. As long as my boy and can go home and kiss his baby boy and pick his baby boy up whenever he wants is all that matters to me at this point. Everything else will take care of itself. This is just a bump in a road that I am sure he will hurdle in no time. Only the strong survive and you are that @iamjasonpierrepaul So go ahead and do what u have to do for yourself bruh. You already know I got your back no matter what just like you have always had mine. This is about a brotherhood that had developed over years! Many people are going to doubt, hate, speculate and that's all cool and they are well within their rights. But one thing they can't do is define who you are as a person and put a limit on your will and determination! So do you homeboy becuz the reals one will always be here no matter what. So like I said they can take this however they want to! #BandofBrothers

A photo posted by @skilled_31 on

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Train Like A #proCane

#proCane #Bears P Pat O’Donnell and S Antrel Rolle workout at #TheU

#UFam #BearDown

A photo posted by Pat O'Donnell (@patodonnell_16) on

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What Antrel Rolle is trying to change with the Chicago Bears

Here’s Antrel Rolle, clapping and yelling and leading the back end of an NFL defense for the 11th year in a row. He talks about bringing the fuel and whatever else he must from a back-end spot, not giving a rat’s behind, going full-go because he knows no other way. He’s 800 miles from where he lived and played the past five years, but he’s still trying to be the guy he always was. He is living a contradiction.

The truth is, Rolle is trying to change, too. You just know it. He boarded a plane for a new region on a whim, turning down money and a chance to keep the status quo. He’s growing the family, stretching the boundaries of what he thinks he’s here to do.

And he joined the Bears of all teams, that iconic NFL franchise so ingrained in ‘80s montages yet doing everything it possibly can right now to turn over a new leaf. He’s in Chicago, which has long been a place to preserve history but is becoming one hell of a landing zone to start fresh again.

That’s what Rolle wanted in early March, moments before he lay down to sleep. He prayed to God that night, asking for a sign of where he should go. He woke up randomly hours later, compelled to check his phone and the email that pinged into it. It was a message from Orbitz about discount flights to Chicago. That was the sign he wanted.

The prayer, and the decision that followed it, was mostly about free agency. But with his first child on the way and the constant, nagging feeling from the outside that he might be on the downward slide of his 11-year career, the prayer addressed a little about life, too. Ever since he’s arrived in Chicago, he’s spoken in terms of purpose – both for him and for this place and the ways those two will intertwine.

And so the questions Rolle faces are the epitome of becoming a Bear under today’s regime: What do I change, and what do I keep the same?

He’s always been rogue. Those things he says about fuel and fire and bringing it every day might be clichés carefully selected by many players, but they’re an ethos he’s tried to live inside for 11 years now. He’s totaled 799 tackles, 34 forced turnovers on the way to three Pro Bowls and one Super Bowl. He’s made $57.5 million, and so far, it’s been one big building project of him and his style of play.

That is, until now.

Rolle’s first child came into this world at 7:09 a.m. on May 21. It was a boy, and his daddy gave him his love and his time, missing a week of Bears practice to be there with his new family. He also gave him his name, calling him Antrel Rocelious Rolle Jr.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Rolle says. “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think words can really explain the joy that having a son brings you to this world, but like I said, the hardest thing was to leave him to come back to work.

“But once I get out here on the field, it makes it all worthwhile. When I’m on the field, that’s the only thing I focus on.”

How the changing motivation will spill out into who Rolle will be in this new role – a sure-fire starting safety with an undefined position on a 3-4 defense on a roster of turnover – is another game of wait-and-see. But what Rolle isn’t hiding is that he does have to change, somehow.

He says every year is a challenge to get better from the year before. Right now, in that regard, Rolle might have quite a bit to improve. Rolle finished last season with 87 total tackles, his lowest total since his first year with the Giants in 2010, and it wasn’t hard to spot some of the ones he missed. Pro Football Focus rated his play at a -13.9, including -10.5 against the run. It had 80 safeties rated higher. The Giants just so happened to have their worst season in his five on the team, the bottom of a downward slide ever since they won the Super Bowl in 2011.

He was a free agent at year’s end, and the team expressed interest in bringing him back, but he said he knew it was time to leave. He was quoted as saying he believed he had “four great years left,” a hefty personal challenge for a 32-year-old coming off such a difficult year.

And so he came to Chicago, signing a three-year, $11.3 million deal. It’s good money, ranking 15th among safeties in cap hit, according to Spotrac, but it’s a far cry from the five-year, $37.1 million deal he signed with the Giants in 2010.

So maybe the Bears don’t expect Rolle to be the Rolle of the past, and maybe he doesn’t either. What they are offering him is plenty of opportunity on a defense in need of players in an organization going through tremendous change. They have a wide-open starting safety spot opposite Ryan Mundy, a chance to fix a secondary that finished 30th against the pass. They have a new 3-4 scheme in need of players who can pick it up quickly, and they have a locker room that just shipped out some of its long-time voices – Brandon Marshall, Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs – in search of something new.

Rolle feels he can check all the boxes. He started alongside Mundy in New York in 2013, when he notched the best season of his career with 98 tackles and six interceptions to go with a second-team All-NFL pick by the Associated Press. He studied Vic Fangio’s 49ers defenses before coming here, the career ballhawk falling in love with the freedom of movement he saw in the back end. And he’s always had the voice, the one that drew weekly headlines on a radio show in New York and has been said to put a teammate in his place a time or two.

He said he learned much of the vocal tactic at the University of Miami on those early-2000s teams known for swagger. Guys like Ed Reed, Ken Dorsey, Phil Buchanon and Mike Rumph showed the way with their pre-game speeches and on-field screams, and he followed.

“I just tell it like it is,” Rolle said. “Where I come from, it’s always been constructive criticism. You never lie to your brothers. You never lie to yourself. You never lie to your peers. That’s the way I like to approach it because when you do that, then you’re all getting better at the same time.”

It’s a tactic he admits doesn’t always instantly go over perfectly with every player, particularly sometimes with rookies. But he feels it’s one players adapt to – or maybe it’s that they need to adapt to it because at this point, that’s a little of who he is. But Mundy said it’s an attitude players generally learn to respect.

“He’s just like a natural, good-hearted guy and really authentic,” said Mundy, who left the Giants to sign with the Bears last offseason. “He wears his emotions on his sleeve. He lets you know exactly what he’s thinking, and you’ll know exactly where you stand with him. That’s one thing that I always appreciated about ‘Trel.”

Added Giants Coach Tom Coughlin at the NFL Scouting Combine: “I don’t think I was ever involved with a player who was more sincerely interested in how his team could improve.”

And so for now, Rolle will bank on what he knows to teach him what he doesn’t. He’ll poke and prod his teammates, pushing their buttons, seeing how they respond. He’ll command a voice in a locker room full of youngsters and a few veterans with something to prove. He feels like he understands their vices and wants to fill some voids where others cannot.

It’ll be different now, of course. That was part of the plan. The rest is what he’s waiting to find out.

“So far, our attitude has been great,” he said. “Everyone’s very enthused about what we have going on. New coaches, new players and new mindset. I haven’t been here before, but I’m not really concerned about what took place before. We’re going to worry about today and moving forward.”

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Antrel Rolle's 'primary goal' is to be a 'playmaker' for Bears defense

Chicago Bears safety Antrel Rolle wants to make an impact with his new team. Recently, Rolle told Jeremy Stoltz of Bears Report about his intense approach to the game.

"You always want to be a playmaker. That’s always my primary goal," Rolle told Bears Report. "It’s what you do between the white lines that really matters. So just being a veteran leader and being a guy that the younger guys can look up to. And I just want to be an all-around force. That’s how I like to play the game."

Rolle is 32 years old and a three-time Pro Bowler. He was the eighth-overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft and is still playing quality football after 10 seasons in the league. He won a Super Bowl with the Giants and appeared in another with the Arizona Cardinals.

From a leadership standpoint, the rest of the Bears can turn to Rolle with confidence.

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Antrel Rolle says new Chicago Bears defense is coming together

The Chicago Bears are undergoing a major transition on the defensive side of the ball. Coordinator Vic Fangio is installing a new 3-4 scheme, and several fresh faces litter the lineup.

One of the 2015 additions is Antrel Rolle, a safety acquired in free agency. As he makes personal adjustments to a morphing situation, Rolle can see the defensive unit, as a whole, getting acclimated to what Fangio is asking of it, according to ESPN's Jeff Dickerson.

"Everything is coming together, for sure," Rolle told ESPN. "There's still a lot of work left to be done, which is expected, but things are coming together. The feeling is good and the tempo is great. We're just getting to know each other, and that definitely takes time. We're just waiting for it to all click."

There's no telling when that "click" will come, but early progress is encouraging for a Bears defense that struggled mightily to slow opponents last season. Chicago ranked 30th out of 32 teams in terms of total yards allowed in 2014 (6,033).

As for Rolle's specific impact in the new defense, the 32-year-old veteran brings Super Bowl experience to the unit. His leadership and expertise will be absolutely integral in the deep secondary.

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Chicago Bears secondary has a new father in starting safety Antrel Rolle

Chicago Bears starting safety Antrel Rolle took the field for the first time as a father this week at OTA workouts. His son, Antrel Rocelious Rolle Jr., was born on Thursday, May 21, at 7:09 a.m, according to Nate Atkins of

Rolle's pure emotion is evident in his lack of words to describe it.

"It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever experienced," Rolle said, per "I don’t think words can really explain the joy that having a son brings you to this world, but like I said, the hardest thing was to leave him to come back to work. 

But once I get out here on the field, it makes it all worthwhile. When I’m on the field, that’s the only thing I focus on."

On Instagram, Rolle posted a picture with Antrel Jr. and said his motivation is on a "totally different" level.Rolle, 32, won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants, where he was a team captain during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He signed with the Bears this spring, a free agent with a decade of NFL experience. His first five seasons came in Arizona, the team that drafted him eighth-overall in 2005 and then lost in the Super Bowl three years later.

The three-time Pro Bowler is now trying to prove himself as a Bear, rather than lean on his 26 career interceptions.

"You have to earn your stripes wherever you go," Rolle said, according to "It doesn’t matter what I’ve done in Arizona. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done in New York.

"I definitely have to earn my stripes, and I plan on doing so."

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proCane Pro Day Recap

In front of reps from all 32 NFL teams, the unquestioned star was receiver Phillip Dorsett. He blazed his way to an unofficial 4.25-second 40-yard dash after running an already-excellent 4.33 at the NFL combine in February. He could have settled on that time and simply performed pass-catching drills for NFL scouts, but Dorsett wanted to put on a show.

“It was just me and my competitive spirit just coming out here and doing everything,” Dorsett said. “Because I know everybody wants to see it. Everybody likes to see a guy go out and compete and do everything.”

Dorsett, who measured in at 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds, said he improved his vertical to 38 inches (he leaped 37 at the combine) and bench-pressed 225 pounds 13 times (he did not lift at the combine).

For me, the star of the day was Phillip Dorsett,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “A kid who didn’t have to do anything because he performed so well at the combine. What did he do today? Comes out runs a 4.25, 4.26, jumps 38 inches, 10-9 broad [jump], and then looked fantastic catching the football and getting in and out of breaks. I thought Phillip Dorsett had an outstanding day.”

Dorsett will work out for the Dolphins, Panthers and Falcons. What if the hometown chose him?

“Being a Hurricane and I always was a fan of the Dolphins, too,” said Dorsett, from Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas. “It would be great. It would be a dream come true,” he said.

* Linebacker Denzel Perryman suffered a pulled right hamstring and scratched on his second attempt at running the 40-yard dash. UM did not release official testing results to the media, but according to a group of scouts that got together and compared times, Perryman’s first heat in the 40 was a 4.67 — better than the 4.78 he ran in Indianapolis.

He did not perform in the shuttle, 3-cone and positional drills. He said not being able to finish was “real disappointing, but I think a lot of teams just wanted to see what I could run. I feel I accomplished that today. I answered a lot of questions.”

He said he measured in at 5-11 and 239 pounds and put up 30 reps of 225 pounds. He increased his vertical from 32 (combine) to 33 inches.

Perryman watched film with the Lions hours before pro day began and has three NFL team visits lined up: he will meet with the Dolphins next Thursday, the Falcons on April 12 and the Panthers on April 16. Along with Clive Walford and Dorsett, he ate dinner with Saints brass Tuesday night at Fleming’s Steakhouse in Coral Gables. Perryman said he ate shrimp and scallops (Rob Ryan had a steak, if you were wondering).

* Running back Duke Johnson ran a 4.47 twice, which was a much better result than his combine time (4.54). He also “caught the ball naturally,” according to Mayock.

Why run the 40 again? “I wanted to do it for myself, because I know I can do better, and I know I train too hard to run what I ran at the combine,” he said, adding that his “game speed speaks for itself. … If you run 4.2, 4.3 but you don’t play it, it really doesn’t make a difference.”

Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey agreed.

“When we watch guys play with helmets and shoulder pads, those are the important things,” he said. “Those guys that play fast and also run fast, that’s great. The importance is the speed they play at.” The 40 time is “a measurement — you always judge it against how they play.”

Johnson, who measured in at 5-9 and 203 pounds, said he did 18 reps of 225. He did not lift at the NFL combine.

Tight end Clive Walford did not run because he suffered a hamstring pull last week. Walford (6-4, 250) said he would meet with the Steelers after pro day and the Falcons and Packers in the coming days. He said he has talked to a laundry list of teams, including the Dolphins, Saints, Falcons, Packers, Broncos, Chargers, 49ers, Ravens, Chiefs and Buccaneers.

Walford, a Glades Central grad and South Bay native, on the hometown team: “I talked to them. I wouldn’t say a lot, but I saw that move that they made this offseason. Shout-out to the Dolphins.” He’s talking, of course, about the Fins adding Ndamukong Suh.

Is UM’s tight end tradition helping his draft stock? “We produce great tight ends,” he said. “Look at the history. We’ve got great ones to come. I feel I kept up that legacy. Hopefully the young ones do as well.

* Offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, a projected first-rounder, did not perform lifting drills – he was the top overall bench-presser at the NFL combine, with 37 reps of 225 – but did everything else. Flowers did not speak to the media (he rarely does).

Mayock was very high on Flowers, Jon Feliciano and Shane McDermott‘s performances.

“I counted eight to 10 offensive line coaches, obviously here to see mostly Ereck Flowers, who I think is going to be a first-round draft pick,” he said. “But Feliciano could get drafted. Shane McDermott could get drafted. I thought it was a great day for that whole group of players.”

* Defensive end Anthony Chickillo, who looked even lighter than he did at the combine (when he measured 6-3, 267), looked like a much more explosive player than he was as a 280-pound strong-side defensive end at UM. “Very twitchy” was Walford’s assessment. “Quick. Fast.”

* Quarterbacks Ryan Williams and Jake Heaps threw a variety of routes for scouts. Williams said he checked in at 6-4 and change and 215 pounds, and ran a 4.84 in the 40. Before tearing his ACL last April 4 – 362 days ago – he said he ran in the 5-second range. He definitely looked a lot faster than before. He has several meetings scheduled, but has not worked out with an NFL team.

“I’m always positive,” Williams said. “Regardless if I get drafted or not I’m still going to get a chance somewhere so I’m not really worried about the draft.”

* Cornerback Ladarius Gunter ran a solid 4.56 time in the 40 and looked very rangy in coverage drills.  He’s projected as a mid-round pick.

* Linebacker Thurston Armbrister showed good speed and agility, though he struggled to catch interceptions in drills. Would bet he gets a shot somewhere.

* Defensive tackle Olsen Pierre ran a 5.15 in the 40.

* If you saw my Twitter feed, you’ll get a roll of NFL personnel I spotted, but among the notables were a large contingent of Dolphins personnel (GM Dennis Hickey, VP Mike Tannenbaum, head coach Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, running backs coach Jeff Nixon, special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi), Jets head coach Todd Bowles, Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. NFL Network said seven GMs attended, including Hickey. The others: Mickey Loomis (Saints), Mike Maccagnan (Jets), Kevin Colbert (Steelers), Doug Whaley (Bills), Steve Keim (Arizona), Ruston Webster (Tennessee) and Floyd Reese (Giants). Former Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, now a college scout with New Orleans, was also there.

* Former Hurricanes who attended included Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, Demarcus Van Dyke, Jacory Harris, Lamar Miller and Tommy Streeter. A slew of players from the 2012 and 2013 teams were there. Jonathan Vilma was also in attendance, working for NBC Sports along with former Dolphins great Jason Taylor. NFL Network had a five-person crew and analyst Mike Mayock interviewed several UM players and coach Al Golden, who did not speak to other media.

* Former Hurricanes running back Damien Berry, a Glades Central grad who won a Super Bowl with Baltimore in 2012, was the oldest of several pre-2014 Hurricanes who worked out (linebacker Tyrone Cornelius and defensive end Shayon Green, both from the 2013 team, also performed).  “I’m still young, 26 years old. I think it’s time to give it another shot,” said Berry, who last played for UM in 2010 and now lives in Boca Raton. Berry, 5-11 and 230 pounds, he said he ran a 4.7 in the 40.

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Antrel Rolle's leadership skills impressed Bears coach John Fox

PHOENIX - Bears head coach John Fox thought enough of Antrel Rolle's ability to sign him to a three-year, $11.25-million contract earlier this month. But what Fox really likes about Rolle is what the Giants really liked about the 32-year-old safety: his leadership skills.

"Leadership is important," Fox said. "There's kind of a 10-80-10 percentage on a football team. There are 10 percent of the guys that are doing it right all the time. The key is to get a big majority of that 80 to see it done right so they can climb up to the 10. We think he's in that 10. He has the ability. He's done that before. I've seen him even at the Pro Bowl show leadership."

Fox probably hopes some of Rolle's leadership skills rub off on quarterback Jay Cutler, who heads into the season as the No. 1 quarterback. But Fox knows from Cutler's well-chronicled issues with coaches and teammates that the quarterback will have to be on his best behavior.

"I'm going to watch [Cutler] on the field, look at all the practice tape," Fox said. "Obviously, we're judged by how we perform on Sundays. We're a production-based business. I haven't had one of those experiences [with Cutler] yet, so I can tell you those things will occur and like every position, how you practice usually is how you play and perform and we'll evaluate at every position as we move forward."

Fox said he'll take a wait-and-see approach with Cutler.

"When you come in with all your players in a new organization, you hear all kinds of stuff," said Fox, who signed with the Bears after parting ways with the Broncos following the 2014 season. "You just file it and you give a guy the benefit of the doubt and let them earn that [trust] with me personally."

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Antrel Rolle says sign from God led him to Chicago Bears

A sign from God is the reason Antrel Rolle is a member of the Chicago Bears now.

The ex-Giants safety signed a three-year deal with the Bears late Wednesday night. Shortly before inking his contract, he delivered an Instagram post discussing his sign from God.

“I asked God for a sign and this is what I woke up to at 4:33am Monday morning!! What does this mean???? I DONT KNOW . . . let’s see!! #staytuned,” he said on Instagram.

Along with the post was a photo of an Orbitz ad that highlighted flights to Chicago.

He expanded on his social media post during an appearance on WFAN.

"I just asked God. It was Sunday night before I was going to sleep (and) I just asked him, 'God, I pray that you just give me a level head. I pray that you just give me a sign to lead me in the right direction, and I'll follow your lead.'

"It was Monday morning at 4:33 a.m. I never wake up in the middle of the night, and it was 4:33 Monday morning, and I got an email to my phone. And the email said, 'Orbitz alert: flights to Chicago, discount fair.' And I'm like, 'wow,' you know what I mean?"

Rolle, 32, played five seasons with the Giants, but the franchise had little interest in bringing him back this offseason. Rolle visited the Chicago Bears at the start of free agency Tuesday and signed his contract a day later.

He was one of the Giants’ most vocal leaders during his time in East Rutherford.

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Antrel Rolle cried over Giants exit, says he ‘cannot be replaced’

Antrel Rolle admitted the thought of leaving a group that now must be described as his former teammates “made a 32-year old man cry’’ and acknowledged “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life is leave the New York Giants.’’

For five years, Rolle called the Giants workplace his home, but he signed this week to play for the Bears.

“It doesn’t matter what uniform I’ll be wearing on Sunday, I have New York tattooed on my chest and that ain’t going anywhere,’’ Rolle said Friday on WFAN, the radio station that benefited from his candor and emotion in weekly Tuesday spots during the past seasons.

Rolle did not want to leave the Giants, but once free agency hit and he had not heard from the team, he knew he was headed elsewhere. Sure, that hurt, but Rolle signed a three-year, $11.25 million contract with the Bears and has not uttered a bad word about his former team.

“I wish everyone the best and I wish the New York Giants the best of the best,’’ Rolle said, “and I have all the confidence in the world in those guys there. I know they’ll be on top in no time.’’

Rather than air any bitterness, Rolle sounded nostalgic and appreciative of his stay with the Giants, generous with praise for several individuals in the building.
He saluted David Merritt, the coach in charge of safeties, former defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and former cornerback coach Pete Giunta. He lauded special assistant (and former Giants linebacker) Jessie Armstead – “Times when I felt like when I was just gonna go off at certain times, he was always a guy who talked to me, bring me down and just keep me calm’’ – and radio analyst (and former Giants linebacker) Carl Banks: “He’s been my mentor, he’s been that angel on my shoulder and he’s taught me to do things the right way, the Giants way.’’

Rolle even praised general manager Jerry Reese, who ultimately decided Rolle would not get a competitive offer to stay.

“Jerry Reese is a sharp guy,’’ Rolle said. “He’s involved in everything, from film watching to everything else. Jerry Reese knows how valuable I was to the defense. Everyone has a job to do. I’ve had several conversations with Jerry Reese, and maybe they wanted to go younger, I don’t know what there angle is.’’

Rolle choked up again when he brought up Tom Coughlin.

“More importantly, more than any one man, is coach Coughlin, that old man like that, he’s a one-of-a kind individual,’’ Rolle said. “It took a lot to get to the point where we are right now, man, and it’s like I told him yesterday, ‘Coach, when you get inducted into the Hall of Fame you better give me a call because I want to the right there up front and center.’’’

Rolle said he decided between the Bears and the Redskins and that he did not receive an offer from the Giants until he was about to sign in Chicago. There also was interest from the Jets, he said, but said it “would have been weird being in a Jets uniform.’’

A signal that he was headed to the Bears, Rolle said, came after he prayed for some guidance and was awakened in the middle of the night by an email alert from the travel website Orbitz offering discount fares to Chicago.

Rolle mentioned his age (32) several times as a reason some teams might not have shown interest, a reason he disdains. He called himself “a guy who has crazy, crazy amount of pride in himself and belief in himself, and even at the age of 32, I know there’s a million things I can do that 24-, 23-year-old guys can’t get done.’’
How do the Giants replace him?

“Antrel Rolle cannot be replaced in that defense,’’ he said. “But you can get someone to go in there and play ball and make plays and be a helluva player, 200 percent I don’t doubt that. But an Antrel Rolle will never be replaced in that secondary.’’

Though he won a Super Bowl with the Giants, Rolle said the most memorable highlight in his five years was the way the team held together in 2013 after the 0-6 start, rallying to finish that season 7-9.

“I mean, I think that was a true testament of brotherhood, a true testament about what it is to be a Giant, win, lose, or draw,’’ Rolle said. “We stood up, we stood together, we took some heavy, heavy punches and we stood up fighting and we finished it off strong. Those guys were phenomenal in that locker room, from Eli [Manning] all the way down, those guys are the real deal, man.’’

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Antrel Rolle claims tax lawyer defrauded him of $1.8 million

God (and Orbitz) may have pointed Antrel Rolle towards signing with the Chicago Bears, but He probably should have given Rolle better advice on hiring a tax attorney.

The former Giants safety, who signed a three-year $11.25 million contract with the Bears last week, filed a federal civil complaint against attorney Hiram Martin, of Martin Law & Associates, and Harold Sterling of San Fernando Valley for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy and other counts. Rolle is seeking $1,857,303 in damages.

Here are the details of the lawsuit, via the Courthouse News Service:

With his mother Armelia's help, Rolle says he hired Martin to file his taxes after the attorney said he could save Rolle millions of dollars. According to Rolle, Martin and Sterling conspired to steal more than $1.2 million of his withholdings in the 2005 and 2006 tax years by forging his signature on tax documents. In addition, Martin filed Arizona state tax returns under the NFL player's name for the tax years 2005 to 2009, pocketing more than $600,000, Rolle says.

Rolle also accuses Sterling of making "bogus charitable contributions" to a chapel Sterling was president of, giving letters to Martin stating that Rolle had made contributions of $632,000 in 2005, and $1,901,000 in 2006. The contributions were then utilized by Martin and Sterling to create large refunds which were then deposited into accounts owned by Martin without Rolle's knowledge.

Rolle also went through some tax problems with the IRS, perhaps as a result of Martin's negligence.

In January 2010, Forbes reported that the Internal Revenue Service had sent Rolle a $2.2 million demand for back taxes for underreporting his tax income by 50 percent for the years 2005 and 2006. Martin said he was "outraged" and that it was "totally inappropriate" for the business magazine to have looked at tax court filings, even though they are in the public record, Forbes reported at the time. Rolle says he fired Martin in 2012, after the IRS sent him a notice of lien. The accountant he hired to replace Martin uncovered the fraud with the help of the National Football League's Investigative Services, after taking a closer look at his tax records, Rolle says.

Here's hoping Rolle gets this straightened out and receives every last cent he's owed if the courts rule that his former lawyers acted maliciously. NFL players have enough to be concerned about financially without fully guaranteed contracts, to also worry about being potentially ripped off by their lawyers.

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proCane Free Agent Signing Roundup

A lot has happened in the last 48 hours in the NFL as far as Free Agent signings and our proCanes have been at the center of it all with several proCane stars joining new teams. See a recap of all the action below:

Former 49ers RB Frank Gore signed a 3-year $12 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

Former Texans WR Andre Johnson signed a 3-year $21 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

TE Jimmy Graham was traded from the New Orleans Saints to Seattle Seahawks.

Former Giants S Antrel Rolle signed a 3-year $11.25 million contract with the Chicago Bears.

Former Redskins WR Leonard Hankerson signed a 1-year $1 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

OT Eric Winston re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Former Broncos OL Orlando Franklin signed a 5-year $36 million contract with the San Diego Chargers.

OT Jason Fox re-signed with the Miami Dolphins.

MLB Jon Beason re-signed with the NY Giants.

Notable proCane Free Agents still available: Chris Myers, Brandon Meriweather, Santana Moss, Colin McCarthy, Reggie Wayne, Vince Wilfork, DJ Williams, Darryl Sharpton.

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Antrel Rolle curious why ‘phenomenal’ Giants moved on

The Giants on Thursday bid adieu to Antrel Rolle with a video tribute entitled “Thank You Antrel,’’ and, in turn, he tweeted, “I miss you all already and I love y’all so much. U will always have a Giant in me.’’

So, why did the Giants allow their defensive captain to walk out the door without much of an effort to get him to stay?

“I asked myself the same question,’’ Antrel Rolle said Thursday morning on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Rolle pretty much knew the answer. The Giants were headed in a different direction, wanting to get younger at the safety position. Rolle needed to continue his NFL career elsewhere, and Wednesday he headed to Chicago and signed a three-year, $11.25 million contract with the Bears.

Rolle arrived in 2010 and did not miss a game in his five years with the Giants. At 32, he wanted to return, but it wasn’t to be.

“It’s part of the business,’’ Rolle said. “They have their own set of goals and things they want to make happen, and I respect that entirely. The Giants were phenomenal to me for the last five years and I was phenomenal to them, so they didn’t owe me a thing and I didn’t owe them anything, just my warmth and my heart and just everything I put out there on the field for the last five years.’’

The decision, Rolle said, came down to the Bears and the Redskins, with the Broncos, Jets and Eagles also expressing interest.

“I’m a huge believer in going with your heart and going with your gut instinct, and these guys made such a huge impression on me once I first touched ground in Chicago,’’ Rolle said.

I just want to take this time to tell the organization., coaches, media department, cleaning staff, cafeteria staff, THE FANS,& more than ANYTHING MY TEAMMATES that I love u all dearly. This was the hardest decision that I ever had to make in my life. It's never easy when u have so many emotions involved and u have sooo much love for a place. NY is the only place that I call home away from home. You all have been so great to me and honestly I love you all to death for it. You all have me so many priceless memories that will never ever be forgotten. Once a Giant always a Giant and I sincerely believe in that. Moving on is a part of life and it's a part of business. I had to do what was best for my family and I. I want to make my son proud of his father and to continue to do that I had to go forward with my plan! NY is tattooed on my chest so just know I will be a Giant and a New Yorker forever. Love u all. See you on the other side. #WhereTrel@ #flipagram made with @flipagram

A video posted by @skilled_26 on

The presence of John Fox, entering his first year as Bears head coach, and Vic Fangio in his first year as defensive coordinator, helped convince Rolle to stay put in Chicago.

“For one, I study a lot of defenses, and coach Fangio was with the 49ers for the last several years and we all know their defense was phenomenal,’’ Rolle said. “I love the way he played his safeties. Coach Fox, it was just a breath of fresh air, he’s such a people person and such a down-to-earth and real individual man, he just made me feel very, very welcome.

“The most important thing, as a player and this being my 11th year, you want to go where a team makes you feel wanted, you want to go where a team make you feel they’re gonna appreciate you, therefore you’re gonna fight extra hard for them. These guys have been doing it since free agency, those guys have been calling my phone and making me feel really at home. It wasn’t really a hard decision for me to make as far as wish team I wanted to pursue in this next journey.’’

The Giants need to add a safety, considering they have none of them on the roster with any NFL starts. Most of the top-rated safeties already have signed elsewhere, with Rahim Moore on Thursday getting a three-year, $12 million deal with the Texans. The Giants have interest in Ron Parker, a Chiefs starter last season, but Parker is visiting with the Bears. Also on the market: Darian Stewart, who started 14 games last season for the Ravens.

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Antrel Rolle agrees to three-year deal with Chicago

The Bears needed a proven presence at safety.

They got him.

Chicago has reached a three-year, $11.25 million deal with Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle, agent Drew Rosenhaus told PFT’s Mike Florio on Wednesday night. The deal contains $5 million in guaranteed money.

Rolle, 32, started every game in the last five seasons for New York. He notched 87 tackles and intercepted three passes in 2014.

PFT’s 54th-ranked free agent, Rolle could team again with former Giants teammate Ryan Mundy at safety for Chicago, which has had significant instability on defense the last two seasons.

Not surprisingly, new head coach John Fox and G.M. Ryan Pace moved early in free agency to add two defensive starters. First, the Bears reached a deal with Ravens outside linebacker Pernell McPhee.

Now, they’ve added Rolle, who strengthens a position group that has been a problem spot for Chicago for some time.

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Bears making strong push for veteran safety Antrel Rolle

Antrel Rolle heading to Chicago to visit with the Bears is a prime example of the difference between NFL head coaches who have control of their team’s personnel and those who do not.

Tom Coughlin is one of those coaches who does not have final say on who is on his roster. If he did, he surely would find a way to re-sign Rolle, who started every game for Coughlin and the Giants the past five years. The makeup of the roster falls to general manager Jerry Reese, who certainly abides by the wishes of his head coach whenever possible. Reese, though, clearly has set a price for Rolle and is willing to watch the Giants’ defensive captain sign elsewhere.

Rolle’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, Tuesday shooed away reports Rolle to the Bears was already a done deal. That doesn’t mean a contract is not forthcoming. The Bears headed into free agency seeking to upgrade at safety and Rolle would bring them ability, durability and leadership. Plus, he’s played alongside a safety already in Chicago, Ryan Mundy. The two started the first seven games together for the Giants in 2013.

Rolle, 32, wants to remain with the Giants but as free agency approached, it became clear that he was likely headed elsewhere.

In need of a replacement for Rolle — there isn’t a safety on the roster with an NFL start — the Giants remain interested in Chiefs defensive back Ron Parker, who is versatile enough that in 2014 he started 11 games at safety and four at cornerback. Rahim Moore of the Broncos is also a possibility.

Before free agency even officially started, the Giants made a significant push to come to an agreement with safety Devin McCourty, who never actually hit the open market and ended up re-signing with the Patriots.

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Antrel Rolle Proposed proCane Package Deal

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5 possible destinations for Giants' free agent safety Antrel Rolle

When you're not in the "upper class" of NFL free agents — i.e. the available players in their prime who will command top dollar — the signing period can be an exercise in patience.

In 2010, the last time Antrel Rolle hit the free agent market, he was firmly a part of that top tier, coming off of his first Pro Bowl appearance and five very good seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. His production and age (27 at the time) earned him a five-year, $37 million deal from the Giants that made him the highest paid safety in the NFL.

In hindsight, that contract looks like a relative bargain when you consider the fact that Rolle is the rare free agent signing to play out the entirety of his contract at a fairly high level. But coming off of what was probably his worse season in 2014, his decent numbers (89 tackles, three interceptions, one forced fumble) masking the many missed tackles and lack of impact plays. Rolle is also at the age where his once-great speed and athleticism are starting to decline, which puts him in a decidedly different situation as a free agent.

Rolle is a notch below the top available safeties at this point, which include the Patriots' Devin McCourty and the Broncos' Rahim Moore, which means that teams in need of a safety will only chase Rolle when it is clear they are out of the running for the upper echelon guys.

Rolle's market is difficult to gauge until we see what kind of contracts McCourty, Moore, and company land. His name recognition and past performance will likely put his salary above the lower class of $1-3 million annually, which might be what the Giants would be willing to pay him to return, but not close to the $7-10 million range that the top safeties will get.

Assuming the Giants let Rolle walk, here are a few teams that might be interested in the 10-year veteran:

Chicago Bears
Safeties under contract: Ryan Mundy, Brock Vereen, Anthony Walters.
Why Rolle is a fit: New Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio likes to have safeties who are versatile and interchangeable. Rolle has lost a step, but has made a career off of being able to cover the slot, tight end, middle of the field, and play close to the line of scrimmage. Starting strong safety Ryan Mundy is a former Giant, so communication on the back end would be less of a concern.

Dallas Cowboys
Safeties under contract: Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Keelan Johnson
Why Rolle is a fit: The free safety spot next to Church was a question mark coming into the season, though Wilcox improved as the season went on. Rolle would give them another body to rotate in on nickel packages, and a veteran leader for their secondary. It's probably the role he's best suited to now.

Houston Texans
Safeties under contract: DJ Swearinger, Lonnie Ballentine, Terrance Parks
Why Rolle is a fit: Swearinger is the only starting-caliber safety on the roster, and he's more of a "box" safety than a rangy coverage type. Rolle would be a solid stopgap replacement for free agent Danieal Manning, a similar type of player with the ability to play both safety positions.

Indianapolis Colts
Safeties under contract: Winston Guy, Dewey McDonald
Why Rolle is a fit: As you can see, the Colts safety depth chart is basically at ground zero, with 2014 starters Laron Landry and Mike Adams both free agents. Landry will be gone after his second PED suspension, but If they don't bring Adams back, Rolle would give the Colts another potential ballhawk alongside cornerback Vontae Davis, and help shore up their porous pass defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Safeties under contract: Jonathan Cyprien, Tommie Campbell, Joshua Evans, Craig Loston, Matt Daniels
Why Rolle is a fit: Rolle said he wants to play for a winner but he might not have a choice. The Jaguars have a young secondary who could use Rolle's intangibles and mentorship, and are also desperate for a playmaker in the defensive backfield. Rolle could be rejuvenated by a move to his home state.

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Antrel Rolle talks about Giants in the past tense: 'We'll always be family'

As he prepares to hit free agency next week, Antrel Rolle said he has not had any conversations with the Giants about a return for the 2015 season, a possible sign that he won't be back.

"This is all business at this point,'' the Giants defensive captain and starting safety said on ESPN Radio in New York yesterday. "The Giants are going to handle it in a professional business manner and I plan on doing the same thing.''

Rolle, 32, has said he'd like to play for the Giants for the rest of his career, but he seems to be coming to grips with the reality that he probably won't.

"Whether I'm with the Giants or not with the Giants, I'm always going to be a Giant at heart,'' he said. "I don't know what's in store. I'm just waiting, as are the other hundreds of free agents out there, and we'll see what takes place . . . I don't care what takes place, the Giants will always have a special place in my heart. We'll always be family.''

Rolle played all five years of his contract with the Giants after he was released by the Cardinals in 2010, a rarity in the NFL. He was a big part of their Super Bowl championship in 2011. "The Giants' organization has been phenomenal to me,'' Rolle said, "and I think I've been phenomenal to them.''

He wouldn't put a percentage on his return to the Giants, nor would he commit to giving them a "hometown discount.''

"That's irrelevant at this point,'' he said, "because there have been no numbers talked about.''

The Giants have exclusive rights to negotiate with Rolle until the window for teams to speak with prospective free agents opens tomorrow. Rolle said he has not heard from any other teams -- he wouldn't be able to legally, anyway -- and dispelled reports that he is heading elsewhere or that any negotiations have taken place.

Rolle said he won't rule out any possible landing spots.

""When you are a free agent, you think about any team," he said. "There is no team that is going to be out of the loop. This is strictly a business move . . . If there are going to be 32 teams out there interested, I'm going to look at all 32 teams."

"Right now, it's just waiting time,'' he said. "I've been through this process before, so I know how it goes. You don't get overwhelmed with the process. You just let it take its course . . . I haven't spoken to any teams yet. When March 10 comes, I'm going to be a free agent.''

And, it seems more and more likely, a former Giant.

Rolle also had his thoughts about other Giants matters. He is, after all, still the captain for at least a few more days.

Asked about the team's potential interest in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, he said: "That would be a hell of a move if the Giants could pull that off."

Asked about the Eagles' trade of LeSean McCoy, he said he still was surprised. "If I was to return to the Giants, absolutely, that would definitely make my job a whole lot easier," he said. "I've always said he's the hardest guy to tackle."

And asked about the team's lackluster defense last season, which cost coordinator Perry Fewell his job, Rolle said that "things were just out of whack."

When he first arrived with the Giants, it did not seem as if Rolle would be able to coexist with Tom Coughlin and the rest of the traditionally buttoned-down team. He spoke his mind, and that led to some disagreements with the coach and the front office.

Rolle even said that after his first season with the Giants, he was "99 percent" sure he would not play out his contract.

Soon, though, he adapted to the Giants' culture.

"It was going to be [Coughlin's] way or the highway," Rolle said, "and I didn't want the highway, so I changed."

This time, he may not have a choice. The highway beckons. And change once again is imminent.

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Giants talks with Antrel Rolle not productive

It doesn't look like safety Antrel Rolle will be with the Giants next season.

According to the New York Daily News, contract negotiations between the two parties haven't gone well. Rolle doesn't want to come back for much less than the $7 million he earned for each of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

It's also possible that Rolle winds up with the Dolphins, the report states.

Rolle recorded 87 tackles and three interceptions in 2014.

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Miami Dolphins Expected to Pursue Safety Antrel Rolle Once Free Agency Begins

Despite the New England Patriots' decision not to franchise Devin McCourty, the free agent market at safety will still be relatively thin in 2015. In fact, in addition to McCourty, the only other potentially available safety that's worth a high-cost investment is New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle.

With the Giants placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul on Monday, it all but assured Antrel Rolle the ability to test the market come March 10th. And one team already reportedly prepared to pursue him is the Miami Dolphins, who also had him in their sights five years ago before he signed with Big Blue.

A proud member of the University of Miami during his college days, Rolle was excited by the prospect of potentially joining the Dolphins in 2010, going as far as to say it's be less strain on his parents if he played closer to home.

"That would be nice," Rolle said at the time. "You know what I mean. I would love to take some of the burden off of mom and dad seeing as they travel to every game. Miami is home for me. I haven't played here in five years, but hey, we can make it happen."

But Rolle didn't sign with the Dolphins. Instead, he signed a five-year, $37.1 million deal with the New York Giants and played out that contract in its entirety. Over the last five seasons, Rolle didn't miss a single game, barely missed a single practice, never once complained about his contract or asked for a raise/extension. Rather, he kept himself focused on winning a championship and in 2011, he did exactly that.

It's that sort of focus and leadership head coach Tom Coughlin has raved about and a prime reason he wants the veteran back.

"He's an outstanding young man and really I've never come across a player that was more interested in his team and trying to help his team be better in any way they could," Coughlin said. "I think countless Tuesday's Antrel was in my office with, 'How can we get better? What can we do to get better?' Just thoughts going back and forth between coach/player, in terms of how our team could improve.

"I don't think I was ever involved with a player that was more sincerely interested in how his team could improve. And I admire that very much in him as a young man and a leader."

On the other side of the coin, Rolle has started he'd like to retire with the New York Giants, but only after helping them win another championship. In order for that to happen, the two sides must come to a mutually beneficial deal — something that doesn't appear to be close at the moment. And with a safety market this thin, Rolle will likely attract a lot of potential suitors and generate a lot of offers that may be more than General Manager Jerry Reese & Co. are willing to spend.

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‘Restrictions’ could make Antrel Rolle an ex-Giant

INDIANAPOLIS — Money sounds like the only thing that could prevent the Giants from re-signing safety Antrel Rolle.

Rolle is scheduled to become a free agent on March 10. Giants coach Tom Coughlin gushed about Rolle on Thursday and said the Giants definitely want him back in 2015 … if the price is right.

“We’d like him to come back,” Coughlin said at the NFL Scouting Combine, “obviously, we do have financial restrictions involved.”

The 32-year-old made the Pro Bowl in 2013, but his play slipped last season. Still, he is a reliable veteran presence in the Giants’ secondary.
Coughlin praised his off-the-field contributions.

“He’s an outstanding young man, and really I’ve never come across a player that was more interested in his team and trying to help his team be better in any way they could,” Coughlin said. “I think countless Tuesdays Antrel was in my office with, ‘How can we get better? What can we do to get better?’ Just thoughts going back and forth between coach/player, in terms of how our team could improve. I don’t think I was ever involved with a player that was more sincerely interested in how his team could improve. And I admire that very much in him as a young man and a leader.”

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Coughlin: Antrel Rolle’s desire to make his team better sets him apart

Giants free safety Antrel Rolle can enter unrestricted free agency in March.

And head coach Tom Coughlin would like him to stay right where he is.

Speaking to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday, Coughlin indicated it was no secret he wanted the 32-year-old safety on the roster for 2015, but he also noted the club had a budget.

“Certainly it’s been stated, you don’t need me to state it again, we’d like him to come back, obviously we do have financial restrictions involved,” Coughlin said, according to an interview transcript from the PFWA.

Coughlin said Rolle’s efforts to help the Giants distinguished him.

“He’s an outstanding young man, and really, I’ve never come across a player that was more interested in his team and trying to help his team be better in any way they could,” Coughlin said.

“I think countless Tuesdays Antrel was in my office with, ‘How can we get better? What can we do to get better?’ Just thoughts going back and forth between coach/player, in terms of how our team could improve.”

Rolle is 51st in PFT’s ratings of the top 100 free agents. He has not missed a game in five campaigns with the Giants, intercepting 14 passes and forcing five fumbles in regular-season play in that span.

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Will Hill wants Antrel Rolle to sign with Ravens

A year after joining the Baltimore Ravens, safety Will Hill wants a close friend to do the same.

On his Instagram account, Hill is openly campaigning for New York Giants free-agent safety Antrel Rolle to join him in Baltimore.

Hill started 10 games alongside Rolle when they were teammates in New York in 2013. The Ravens need a starting safety because Darian Stewart is a free agent and young players such as Matt Elam and Terrence Brooks have struggled.

"If things go the way I want me and big bro will be reunited," Hill wrote on a post that includes four photos of Rolle and himself while both played for the Giants.

Based on how Rolle played last season, it's debatable whether he would represent an upgrade. Rolle is on the downside of his career at the age of 32 and is coming off one of his worst seasons. He was ranked as the NFL's 81st-ranked safety by Pro Football Focus after missing 17 tackles and committing seven penalties.

It was a quick decline from 2013, when Rolle finished second in the NFL with six interceptions. He ranked No. 9 among safeties that season by Pro Football Focus.

Even if the Ravens were as interested as Hill is, it doesn't sound like Rolle wants to leave New York.

“I want to go back to the Giants for the fact I feel like I still have work to do,” Rolle told Sirius XM NFL Radio this week. “No matter how good or bad the season may have been for myself, you know, we’ve got one championship and I feel like that’s not enough. I feel like there’s more, obviously there’s more in the tank and more I need to provide as far as my services with that organization to try and help them win another title.”

Free agency begins March 10.

While it's unknown who will ultimately start at strong safety for the Ravens, Hill is likely to remain their free safety. He is expected to be tendered by the Ravens as a restricted free agent.

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Antrel Rolle one of the top free agent safeties on the market?

Once an area of strength for the Giants, the safety position became something of a black hole for the team in 2014.

At the conclusion of 2013, the Giants had to be feeling good about their safety depth chart. Defensive captain Antrel Rolle was coming off of a Pro Bowl season, Stevie Brown, who recorded eight interceptions in 2012, would be returning from a torn ACL, they had the talented but troubled Will Hill on the roster, and had just signed Quintin Demps and drafted Nat Berhe to provide some depth.

Unfortunately, nearly every single one of those players disappointed in some way. Rolle finally started to show his age, and Hill was cut before training camp after violating the league's substance abuse policy, incurring a six-game suspension, and wound up on the Baltimore Ravens. Brown struggled to recapture his big-play form and lost his starting job, while Demps was overexposed as a starter.

Now Rolle, Brown and Demps are free agents, meaning the opportunity is ripe for the Giants to revamp the position through free agency. They will have at least $15 million in cap space to work with, possibly more if they make some roster cuts, which should give them the flexibility to throw some money at some of the top safeties on the market.

The big question Giants fans have been asking is whether the team will give Rolle another contract. Looking at the top free agent safeties, it's difficult to determine where Rolle would rank. If a team is paying him for past performance, he would easily fall in the top 10, but his performance really slipped in 2014, with very few big plays, a lot of missed tackles, and poor coverage.

For that reason, I placed Rolle at the bottom of the list of top free agent safeties on the free agent market. Keep in mind that some of these guys might not be available for the Giants, as their respective teams can always re-sign them before March 10, when the free agency floodgates officially open.

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Giants want Antrel Rolle back 'at right price'

Team chairman John Mara said the team wants free agent FS Antrel Rolle "at the right price."

It's going to be a tricky negotiation. Rolle has been very durable (never missed a game in his five-year Giants career) and usually effective, but is coming off a down year and turned 32 in December. He's our No. 3 free agent safety available, behind only Devin McCourty and Rahim Moore.

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Antrel Rolle Not A Giant In '15?

Antrel Rolle in '15... Giants or Other?
It's early so this is a sheer guess right now but ... other. Rolle can definitely still play, even if it's not at the same level as two years ago. He'll be 33 next season and age unfortunately doesn't discriminate, especially in this game. But somebody will pay him handsomely in a short-term deal, and the Giants don't overpay for sentimentality (see: Justin Tuck, 2014). It's probably best anyway for Rolle to take the money from a team on the brink of a championship.

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Antrel Rolle 2014 Grade

Antrel Rolle
Rolle's 10th season in the league, and fifth with the Giants, also doubled as one of the worst performances of his career. Coming off of an excellent 2013 season, in which he made the Pro Bowl as one of the top safeties in football, the expectation was that Rolle would continue to be the rock of the defensive backfield, alongside his newly-signed buddy Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and an emerging Prince Amukamara at cornerback.

But that's the problem with relying heavily on players on the wrong side of 30 — you never quite know when the wheels will completely fall off. What's interesting about Rolle's 2014 is that he actually got off to a good start before tailing off dramatically a quarter of the way through the season. He recorded three interceptions and a forced fumble in the first three games, then none for the rest of the season.

Those numbers really tell the story for Rolle. He's a guy who has made a career off of being a playmaker in the secondary, but those impact plays were nowhere to be found at crucial moments this season. His -13.9 Pro Football Focus rating placed him as the seventh-worst safety in the NFL. His rating was dragged down by Rolle's poor season as a run defender, and his seven penalties were the second-most on the team and tied for third-most among safeties. That three of those penalties were of the unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct variety is a bad look for the Giants defensive captain.

We've spilled a lot of ink speculating on whether the Giants should re-sign Rolle to one last contract and allow him to retire with the team. Ultimately, the question comes down to this: are they confident that Rolle's 2014 season was a fluke? And do they have a capable replacement waiting in the wings? We don't yet know the answer to the first question, but the answer to the second question is a pretty resounding "no."

Grade: C-

Pros: At his peak, Rolle was a Swiss Army Knife defensive back, whose experience as a former cornerback made him invaluable as a safety for his ability to cover tight ends and slot receivers. In the past, Rolle has been a real ball hawk, with 26 career interceptions. For all of his flaws on the field this season, Rolle also remains a strong voice in the locker room. If ex-Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell did not have Rolle as a strong ally, things might have gotten ugly for him this season.

Key Stat: Three interceptions

It may not seem like a lot, especially since Rolle had zero picks after Week Six, but that total did tie him for second on the team. But those three picks mostly served as a reminder of what Rolle used to be in his prime.

Cons: Rolle has never been as comfortable as a "box" safety playing close to the line of scrimmage against the run, but his rush defense fell off dramatically this season. His -10.5 rush defense rating (via PFF) was third-worst among NFL safeties in 2014, and his run stop percentage was a pedestrian 4.2 percent (the highest being Kam Chancellor's 8.7 percent). He also did a mediocre job of wrapping up receivers in coverage, and was a big part of the reason the Giants were so bad at defending the middle of the field against the pass.

Key Stat: 17 missed tackles (tied for 8th-highest among safeties), 244 yards after the catch allowed (sixth-most among safeties).

Normally a sure tackler, these numbers are hardly encouraged for those in the "Giants should keep Rolle" camp. As the last line of defense in the secondary, Rolle simply can't afford to give up that many yards after the catch and is perhaps a sign that he was half-a-step slower than he used to be as he gains more tread on his tires.

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Antrel Rolle: 'I'd ride or die with Coach Perry Fewell all day'

Antrel Rolle said he was "shocked" by the news that the Giants had fired defensive coordinator Perry Fewell on Wednesday morning. The Giants safety was appearing on SiriusXM's NFL Radio just moments after news of the decision was announced.

"I can't say that I saw it coming because I didn't," Rolle said. "I can say that I really didn't know what to expect."

Rolle had been a voice of support for Fewell when the season ended and he maintained that posture.

"We didn't have the best of the best years as a defense, but I think it definitely had more to do with than just Coach Fewell," Rolle said. "I have a theory that coaches coach and players play the game. We were unsuccessful at times. In my eyes the majority had to do with players not making plays when opportunity presented itself and being a consistent defense throughout the course of the year. Everyone is at fault. We all understand in this league when a defense is unsuccessful, but I figured that he would be back given that we had so many people on IR, to give him a chance to make the wrong right."

Rolle and Fewell had a relationship that was at times complicated and contentious. Prior to the 2011 Super Bowl run, there were reports that Rolle wanted to leave the Giants and Fewell's system which used him more as a slot defender than a free safety. Once they got over that, though, the two became close.

"I'd ride or die with Coach Perry Fewell all day," Rolle said. "We had a special kinship, a special bond, and we got into it a lot of times just because we always wanted to be the best. We collided because we always wanted perfection from one another. At the same time, it made us that much more accountable to one another. He knew he could count on me, I knew I could count on him. But when you're talking about the game, it's just unfortunate when you have a defense that isn't successful. The head man is going to take the hit because it's his defense, it's his system and everything else that goes along with it."

That defense finished the season ranked 29th in the league.

"There were some games when we would go out there and play good, there were some games we would go out there and play sub-par, there were some games we would go out and play very poorly," Rolle said. "There was no consistency throughout the defense pretty much the entire year until that latter part of the season. Even then there were times we would be up and it was time for us to close out the game on the defensive side of the ball and we didn't do so. It's very unfortunate for Coach Fewell. I wish as a defense we could have done a better job and kept him around to start this thing over again."

As for Rolle, he will be a free agent in a few weeks. He has stated his desire to return to the Giants and said on Wednesday that coming back to Fewell's system, which he has played in for five seasons, would have been ideal. But, he added, Fewell's dismissal would likely not affect his decision-making.

"I'm a football player," he said. "I fight where I'm told to fight, I play where I'm told to play. That's what it boils down to for me."

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Antrel Rolle wants to return to Giants, but future still uncertain

EAST RUTHERFORD - With his 10th NFL season and his fifth with the New York Giants in the books, Antrel Rolle still has uncertainty in his future.

The 32-year-old safety completed his five-year, $37 million contract that he signed in 2010, and while he can't know for sure where he'll suit up next season, Rolle would be happy with a return to the Giants.

"I want to stay. I definitely want to stay here. I feel like we're building something, although we haven't had the season we wanted to have," Rolle said. "Collectively, I think we're still building something. There's a lot of room for us to grow with what we've accomplished so far, and I'd love to be a part of that."

While the Giants finished 2014 a disappointing 6-10, Rolle said that the pieces are in place to have success in the near future. He added that he could be a big part of the defense's continued development.

"I know where we've come from, from the beginning to mid-point of this year and fighting and having some tough battles through the end of the year," Rolle said. "I think something we were missing for a lot of those games was the finish and finishing strong. We battled extremely hard, they just got the upper hand on us."

Rolle finished Sunday's 34-26 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles with eight tackles, giving him 71 on the season. It was the lowest total of Rolle's five seasons with the Giants, but not far off from his 76.2 average. He also ended with three interceptions and eight passes defended for the season.

The safety played in every game during his five seasons with the Giants, and he earned Pro Bowl selections in 2010 and 2013.

Rolle wants to continue his career with New York, but he acknowledged that there are some things out of his control. All he can do is wait for everything to play out to see what his future holds.

"I've been through this process once before, and I think you just have to take it in stride," he said. "If this was my last game as a Giant, I'm very appreciative, I wouldn't change anything for the world, one of the five years here. I gave the team every inch that I had.

"We'll see what happens once the offseason comes, and once everyone settles down and figures out what it is that we need to do. Hopefully we can come to an agreement and get something done."

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What is Giants safety Antrel Rolle worth?

With the 2014 season ticking down, the question that has been posed to the Giants' key free agents is whether, all things being equal, they would like to re-sign with the team this offseason.

First we heard from defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who expressed his desire to be a "Giant for life" last week. And on Wednesday safety and defensive captain Antrel Rolle boldly declared that he thinks he has three more seasons left of playing at a high level.

A cynic would say that Rolle's statement is nothing more than end-of-the-year posturing from a player positioning himself for a contract. After all, Rolle has seen a notable dropoff in his play this season from the prime of his career, or even last season when he was one of the better safeties in the league.

He is currently ranked 78th out of 87 safeties in the league by Pro Football Focus, with a grade of -8.1, a steep drop from 2013, when he was rated the eighth best safety in the league. The chinks in the armor have been more visible for Rolle this season. He has 74 tackles and only three interceptions and the impact plays that Rolle has built his reputation on have not been there.

Those kind of numbers won't exactly have owners John Mara and Steve Tisch rushing to cut a check. But let's assume that the Giants have some interest in bringing Rolle back. Rolle has a positive history with the organization and is considered one of the leaders in the locker room. The problem is that those intangibles are hardly worth the $7.25 million that

Rolle is currently earning, making him the third-highest paid safety in football.

The problem with determining Rolle's worth is that there are so few players to compare him to. There aren't too many 32-year old starting safeties in the league, and the few that are around have noticeably declined from their prime. For his part, Rolle believes age is nothing but a number. He has also never missed a game as a Giant.

"I have never worried about age. You can put me up against any 32-year-old," Rolle said. "Age has never been a factor to me. These coaches will tell you I don't take days off, even in practice. Other players can take age and use it as whatever they want to use it as, but I know myself."

Based on his peers around the league, there are really only two options the Giants could entertain if they do indeed want to bring Rolle back — overpay him based on his reputation or convince him to take less money and years that are more in line with his age and performance.

The Ceiling: Troy Polamalu / Ed Reed money
Even at his best, Rolle is probably a couple of notches below the elite level that Reed and Polamalu played at for the majority of their careers. But what makes Rolle's situation comparable to these two future Hall of Famers is that both managed to score one final big payday in their 30s, which would be a best-case scenario for the Giants safety.

Reed, at age 35, scored a three-year, $14.875 million contract from the Houston Texans in 2013 after 11 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, with $5 million guaranteed. Polamalu, 33, was actually extended this spring before he could become a free agent this offseason, with the Steelers signing him for two more years at $11.75 million, with $6.75 million guaranteed.

The Reed contract is particularly interesting because, like Rolle, he was coming off of a down year by his standards, ranking 60th in the league among safeties, according to PFF, with a -1.9 grade and four interceptions, a low number for the ball-hawking centerfielder.

Polamalu, on the other hand, had a very good season in 2013. He was the fifth-ranked safety in football, with a PFF grade of 13.3, still playing at the high level that the Steelers had come to expect.

Of course, both contracts should come with a "buyer beware" sticker. As is the case with any contract offered to an NFL player over 30, there is always the chance that the following year could be the one where that player begins to show his age, which is exactly what happened to both Reed and Polamalu.

Reed was cut after seven games with the Texans. He recorded zero interceptions, before latching on with the Jets for the second half of the season and rebounding somewhat, with three picks over the final seven games. Still, at 36, Reed was not re-signed by the Jets and is unofficially retired.

Meanwhile, Polamalu has had his first poor season in years, with zero picks through 12 games, and is the 50th-ranked safety in football.

It is not inconceivable that Rolle could receive a three-year deal in the $4-$6 million range of guaranteed money, especially from some team looking to make a splash this offseason and attach a big name to their secondary. But the Giants would be foolish to overpay Rolle at this level. Even if Rolle were to rebound next season to his 2013 form, there is still a good chance that he won't live up to the back end of that contract and will end up a cap casualty.

The Likely Scenario: Charles Woodson money
In a perfect world, Rolle would be amenable to the kind of short-term deal that Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson received this offseason. Woodson is on his second consecutive one-year deal with the Raiders, with a guaranteed salary of $1.15 million, and can reach as high as $2.5 million with incentives.

Woodson is obviously a good deal older than Rolle at 38, but the other safeties around the league that are close to Rolle's age (such as Mike Adams, Danieal Manning, and Jim Leonhard) never played at the level that the Giants safety did at his peak.

Like Reed and Polamalu, Woodson is a future Hall of Famer, and is primarily being paid based off of his past performance. But even if that is the case, Woodson is actually rated higher than Rolle and has the same number of interceptions this season. Adams and Manning are probably more comparable to Rolle in terms of ability at this point, Rolle is a three-time Pro Bowler that will be looking for a much higher base salary than Adams' $965,000 or Manning's $855,000.

Signing Rolle to a one-year deal with a slightly higher base salary than Woodson (think in the $2-3 million range) allows him to save face and still earn a salary commensurate with his reputation and current level of play. The Giants could even add some incentives if Rolle hits certain personal milestones, such as a Pro Bowl appearance.

That contract also allows the Giants to punt on addressing both safety positions this offseason — they will likely be looking for replacements for free safeties Quintin Demps and Stevie Brown — and retain one of the few vocal leaders in the locker room.

Of course, there are a lot of variables that will factor into the decision to keep Rolle, most notably whether coach Tom Coughlin is brought back as coach or if the Giants bring in a new defensive coordinator with a vastly new scheme. But barring a monumental shift in philosophy, the Giants should either bring Rolle back on a one-year contract or completely revamp the safety position.

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Antrel Rolle wants to stay with NY Giants

Antrel Rolle knows exactly how he wants this to go.

For the last five years, he’s been the Giants’ versatile safety, a steady piece of the Big Blue defense, never missing a game. He’s developed close relationships with several teammates, become a mentor to some, a brother to others.

These things matter to Rolle, and they are part of why he wants to be a Giant next season.

“I wanna be with JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and (Odell) Beckham, and I can’t wait to see (Victor) Cruz come back,” a wistful Rolle said Wednesday. “These are all my boys, these are my brothers who I love to share the battlefield with. . . . DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), he’s someone that I helped bring here. He always tells me I ain’t going nowhere.

“I have a great thing going now.”

It’s a great thing that could be nearing its end, however. Rolle is down to the final two games of his five-year contract, and he’ll take the field against the Rams in St. Louis on Sunday knowing that his Giants career could be ticking down.

The future is unpredictable for all players, especially 32-year-old safeties coming off shaky years, and even Rolle admits that 2014 has hardly been his best. One year after putting together his finest season as a Giant with a career-high six interceptions, he’s dropped several picks and occasionally appeared out of position or made undisciplined plays.

Still, Rolle continues to battle on a team struggling for relevance at 5-9.

“Is this my best season? No, it’s not my best season,” Rolle said. “But am I playing ball? Yes, I’m definitely playing ball. I’m not giving up touchdowns. I’m not giving up huge plays. I’m playing what I’m supposed to be playing. I’m playing multiple roles. I just go out there and do what I can do.”

Rolle believes he can still do plenty. Aging safeties are hardly commodities during the offseason, but Rolle believes he can be an anomaly. He has at least three years left, he says.

“I feel good,” he said. “I feel like I can still go out there and definitely be one of the best safeties in this league, and just go out here and just play ball and just let everything unfold for itself. So who knows. Maybe at 13 (years in the league) I’ll say two more. I’m just going with the flow and whatever my body tells me at this point.”

Why can’t he keep going, he asks. He hasn’t missed a game as a Giant the last five years and feels “amazing,” aside from some occasional foot soreness.

“I never worry about age. . . . Performance is everything,” he said. “God willing, I’ve been able to stay healthy, I’ve been able to go out there and contribute each and every game, and be the player they expect me to be.

“Talk to me in a couple years,” he added. “But I’ve always been honest with myself: The day I feel like my performance is not the same because of anything physical or athleticism, no one will have to sit me down. I’ll sit myself down. I’ve always been brutally honest with myself and others.”

And right now, Rolle sees no reason to walk away, and plenty of reasons to find a way back to the Giants next year. Rolle didn’t talk salary on Wednesday, but he did make it clear that he feels at home with a franchise that he believes can rise from the ashes next season.

“It’d be great to stay here with these guys and build something,” he said. “I feel like next year, God willing, we keep everyone healthy, we have a great chance. I have a great thing going right now.”

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Antrel Rolle: ‘The Sky’s The Limit’ For Giants’ Defense

NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Giants won their second consecutive game on Sunday, beating the Redskins with relative ease.

Big Blue is now 5-9 and will miss the playoffs for the third straight season.

Some would say that there’s not much to play for in the final weeks of the season. But don’t tell that to Antrel Rolle, who joined WFAN co-host Evan Roberts in his weekly spot on Tuesday. The Giants’ defensive leader made it clear that these final two games are important, regardless of the standings.

“My personal goals have always been team goals,” Rolle told Roberts. “We try to go out there and be the best that we can possibly be on each and every occasion, as a team. And for the last two weeks I think we’ve been doing that. Defensively, in the first half (against Washington) we didn’t play our best defense and we still held them to 10 points.

“That just shows that the sky’s the limit for us.”

It’s too little, too late for the G-Men this season. But the three-time Pro Bowler is impressed with what he’s seen over the past two weeks and is excited about what it means for 2015. He’s also determined to finish the season strong.

“We’re finally starting to get the chemistry together,” Rolle said. “We’re finally starting to understand how each other plays, with all the injuries and having guys rotate in and out on a weekly basis … That’s the name of the game, is to finish. It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish … Right now all we can do at this point is just fight.”

New York will take on the Rams at Edward Jones Dome on Sunday before concluding its season against the Eagles at MetLife Stadium.

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Giants should think twice about re-signing Antrel Rolle

Leave it to Antrel Rolle to botch the perfect teaching moment for the Giants’ young prospects.

Meet the current vocal leader of your 4-9 Giants, and a soon-to-be free agent GM Jerry Reese should think twice about retaining next season.

No-nonsense coach Tom Coughlin made it pretty clear that he didn’t dig Rolle’s imaginary photo shoot end-zone celebration with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the fourth quarter of the Giants’ blowout win over the hapless Tennessee Titans. How did Rolle respond?

Rolle admitted that he knew his celebration was “unacceptable,” then seemingly brushed it off.

“Certain things like that, they’re going to take place,” Rolle said Tuesday on his weekly paid WFAN spot. “Certain things like that, they’re going to happen. . . When it’s all said and done, some people are gonna make a big deal of it. Some people are gonna understand the situation. That’s not really my concern. What matters to me more than anything is our confidence.”

Yeah, yeah, it was a silly moment in a blowout, but Coughlin, who has spent years preaching about team and responsibility and respect, wasn’t a fan. Coughlin has twice expressed his displeasure since Sunday, and Rolle, one of the voices of a rudderless squad that has spent all season playing with a lack of discipline, barely cared.

It’s no wonder that Coughlin has had trouble getting the Giants to play disciplined football when one of the team’s leaders thinks he can make like Bobby Boucher from “The Waterboy”when he pleases, with little regard for what his coach thinks. Rolle said his celebration was born of joy for DRC, who has struggled with injuries.

“It goes bigger than us celebrating an interception for a touchdown,” he said. “This is someone who I knew firsthand came to New York to join me and be by my side... He’s been struggling through injuries all season long.”

Admirable? Maybe. Right? Not if the coach doesn’t dig it.

And definitely not now with the Giants rebuilding around rising young stars who look to vets such as Rolle. But instead of pushing them to trust Coughlin’s guidance, Rolle shows them it’s OK to do what they want, even on the playing field.

Rolle, who turns 32 later this month, is viewed as a fiery team-first presence, but in too many moments, he has shown himself to be something else. He threw Prince Amukamara’s sex life into the headlines (a situation that Amukamara handled amicably and admirably), he called a fan a “stupid ass” on Twitter while claiming that he was playing flawless ‘D’ and now this.

The Giants should be prepared to move on. Rolle hardly seems irreplaceable, hardly a game-breaker, having dropped several interceptions and made few big plays this year.

Really, there’s just one reason to keep Rolle around: his relationship with DRC. They have a friendship that dates back to their days with the Cardinals, and Rolle helped lure DRC to East Rutherford.

But they had their moment Sunday. For the Giants, it’s time to move on. 

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Antrel Rolle says Giants won't give up

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have not won a game in two months, but this team will not fall apart down the stretch, according to Antrel Rolle.

"Frustration's gonna happen. We're all frustrated from the top to the bottom, because obviously it's been since Oct. 5 since we won a game," Rolle said Wednesday. "You have to let an individual vent when they want to vent, you have to let the emotions spill over. But at the end of the day we're a team -- we win together, we lose together. As long as that don't get out of hand, the frustration, hopefully it transfers over to guys wanting to do more, be more positive, make more plays."

"That's not gonna happen here," Rolle added, when asked if the team could crumble, with players turning on each other or the coaching staff. "That's not what we're about."

The defense has played a little better overall in recent games, but has failed late in the fourth quarter the past two weeks, allowing the Cowboys and Jaguars to come from behind and snatch victories away from them.

The Giants are still ranked fourth-to-last in the NFL in yards allowed per game (385.0). And they'll be even more short-handed against the Titans in Nashville this coming Sunday, with defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka (knee) and Robert Ayers (pectoral) placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Ayers was the team's best pass-rusher on the season.

Futhermore, linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion) did not practice Wednesday, and fellow linebackers Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder), Jameel McClain (knee), defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (calf) and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/shoulder) were all limited.

Rolle started laughing upon hearing that a whopping 20 Giants players are now on IR.

"It's definitely taken its course on this team," Rolle said. "I don't know the rhyme or reason for it. It's just been a weird year all around. If you had asked me at the beginning of the season if we would have been in this situation, I would have put all my chips on absolutely not."

Rolle himself has had an up-and-down year. He had an interception in three of the team's first six games of the season, but none in the past six games, despite some opportunities. Overall he has a positive grade from the analytic website Pro Football Focus, but received a negative grade for eight consecutive games, prior to last week's loss in Jacksonville.

He's been a very good player in his five years with the Giants, and a leader in the locker room. But he'll also turn 32 next month, and will be a free agent at the end of the season. In an interview on WFAN Tuesday, Rolle said, "I still have a lot in the tank." But it's very possible the Giants will choose to spend their money elsewhere this winter.

For now, though, Rolle is one of the Giants veterans still healthy and competing, and saying the right things, too.

"Obviously this is a disappointing season for everyone, but you have to go out there and keep fighting," Rolle said. "That's all you have at this point. You must keep fighting, you must go out there and try to get a win at all costs."

"Absolutely it's hard," Rolle said, about continuing to fight. "It's hard because your mind can get the best of you. I know it is extremely hard for myself. But like I tell myself, you can't do anything about the past. We did this to ourselves. No one put us in this situation. We put ourselves in this situation."

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Antrel Rolle: ‘Offense will pick it up’ and Giants can run table

Assessing the performance of the Giants’ defense in their 16-10 loss to the 49ers, Antrel Rolle said, “We did enough to get a win, but I don’t think we did enough to help our team win.’’

History certainly backs up Rolle’s contention that the defense did enough to win. Under coach Tom Coughlin, the Giants are 61-7 in games in which they hold the opponent to fewer than 20 points, but what has happened 90 percent of the time in the past 11 years didn’t ring true Sunday.

Despite the offensive meltdown that led to the latest loss, Rolle sounded moderately upbeat Tuesday when asked if he believes the Giants can run the table and win their remaining six games.

“Absolutely, I think it’s a possibility,” Rolle on his weekly WFAN spot. “There’s no doubt in my mind. But in order for it to be a possibility, we have to go out there and play as a team. All three phases have to be on the same page at the same time.”

All three phases more often have played poorly in the same game than those three phases rallying and playing well simultaneously. The Giants are coming off a game in which they received an outstanding performance from their special teams and a solid outing from their defense, but Eli Manning threw five interceptions and the offense managed just 10 points.

“I know our offense will pick it up,’’ Rolle said. “They’re a great offense. They just had a bad day.”

There have been more bad days than good ones for the Giants, as they lug a record of 3-7 into Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys. The Giants are searching for a way out of what is now a five-game losing streak, and facing their NFC East rival “just means that much more,” Rolle said.

The loss to the 49ers came after the Giants failed four times to gain an inch on four cracks from the San Francisco 4-yard line, with the first three plays fade passes — the first-down call was a run that Manning changed at the line of scrimmage — that were not completed.

Asked if he was thrilled with those play-calls, Rolle said, “From a defensive standpoint, I can’t say I was thrilled about it, no,’’ but it did not come across as a knock on the offense.

“We all know there have been plenty of times where the offense saved our butts,” he said.

After the Cowboys, the schedule softens, with games against four non-playoff contenders — Jaguars, Titans and Rams on the road and the Redskins at home — before closing out the season at home against the Eagles.

Run the table?

“This team is more than capable,’’ Rolle said, “but right now we’re just not doing the things that are asked of us to do.’’

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Antrel Rolle: Giants' loss 'worse than embarrassing'

Getting blown out in Seattle isn't necessarily embarrassing.

But getting blown out in Seattle and surrendering a Seahawks franchise record of 350 rushing yards and four Marshawn Lynch rushing touchdowns?

"I think it's a little bit worse than embarrassing," Giants captain Rolle said after the loss Sunday, per

The Giants do not have the talent to compete with a team like Seattle at the moment. Yes, Odell Beckham continues to be fantastic and will develop into a top-10 wide receiver in this league. Yes, the Giants played well enough to go into the half with a lead.

That being said, the way they were gashed on Sunday will certainly make an impression on some of the team's decision-makers. This is the second year in a row in which the Giants have looked soft at spots along their defense. The once dominant, physical nature of their Super Bowl winning defense is a thing of the past.

Now, the team is 3-6 and staring down another losing season. Tom Coughlin will have the Giants believing that they can finish the season 10-6 even though it's not realistic. He'll inevitably be the first person most people point their fingers at when wondering how the team got to a place where they missed the playoffs five times in six seasons.

But what about the years leading up to this? Who will take the blame for assembling a defense that was just good enough to get steamrolled in Seattle?

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Tom Coughlin, NY Giants players split over Antrel Rolle's latest 'passion' rant

Antrel Rolle may be in reruns, but his teammates are still tuning in.

The latest from the always-chatty safety came Tuesday, when he criticized his 3-5 Giants for a lack of passion and fire during his weekly paid WFAN radio spot. And on Wednesday, several of his teammates couldn't help but agree.

"Antrel Rolle is a great guy, and I am with him, I am going to ride with him regardless, and I do feel like we can play with more intensity," said defensive lineman Robert Ayers, one of the few Giants who showed intensity in Monday's loss to the Colts. "This is a game of passion, this is a game of intensity, this is a game of want-to and will. We definitely have to display some of that, we have to play with a lot of that."

Added linebacker Jameel McClain: "Antrel is the general, and whatever the general says, it goes."

It's the third straight season that Rolle has felt the need to question his teammates' intensity, and it's the third straight year that the Giants seem set to miss the postseason. But coach Tom Coughlin insisted that fire is not Big Blue's main issue, and he added that he doesn't mind his team's lack of passionate presences.
"I know he (Rolle) is an emotional guy and he does wear his emotions on his sleeve," Coughlin said. "Not all people are the same.

"It wasn't a 'rah-rah-rah' situation most of the time on the sideline," he added of Monday's game, "but people were into the game and they were playing hard."
McClain said that the main issue with the Giants is that they don't consistently play with passion.

"People are what they are, and that's not taking anything away from it," he said. "We fly around at times. The goal is to keep it consistent. I don't know how you create it (passion)."

Ayers, however, seemed to have an idea for that, and it comes down to the team wanting to maintain its energy, something that's far more challenging amidst a season of struggles.

"It is easy to be intense when things are good . . . when you lose, it is tough, but we have to keep working at it," he said. "It starts with the players, it starts with the coaches, and we just have to keep fighting and keep wanting it."


From the challenge flag incident to the blowout loss, the Giants have few happy memories from Monday's loss to the Colts, and Coughlin was tired of taking questions about that game Wednesday. He grew snappy when asked about Eli Manning's performance in that game.

"I thought we were moving forward," he said before answering the question. "Are we done talking about the other night or not?"


Running back Rashad Jennings, who has missed three straight games with a sprained MCL in his left knee, did not participate in the Giants' short jog-through practice, dimming his hopes of a return this week in Seattle. But he is progressing, Coughlin said.

"I think he started to do some cutting, but I don't know if there is a full menu or diet of that coming," Coughlin said. "He is running though."

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Antrel Rolle hits hard: NY Giants look dead

There's one characteristic that is noticeably lacking on the Giants in the eyes of safety Antrel Rolle: passion.

It’s a word he used repeatedly throughout an interview on WFAN Tuesday, roughly 12 hours after the Giants fell at home to the Colts for their third straight loss. He’s not seeing enough passion throughout the entire roster.

“I’m gonna play with passion. I’m gonna play with all-out fire,” Rolle said in his weekly paid radio spot. “Whether you make the play or not, whether you get beat or not, that doesn’t control your emotions. That shouldn’t control your approach to the game. It shouldn’t control your attitude and passion throughout the game. And I just think that’s something we’re missing a lot. On our sideline it’s very dead. Throughout the course of a game it’s dead. We need a pulse.”

He added that players need to treat the game as if it’s their career and not their job.

“You’ve got to get down, you’ve got to get dirty,” he said. “There’s no room for nice guys in this league.”

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Antrel Rolle rips his teammates

If you were starting to wonder if the Giants actually believe they can make something out of this season, which is quickly slipping away after a third straight loss, you're not alone. Antrel Rolle is right there with you.

The outspoken Giants safety did not mince words for his team after its lackluster performance on Monday Night Football dropped them to 3-5 on the season. He was asked if he believed they could recover and save the season, and this was his answer:

“I always hope for the best for this team,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence in this team and the talent that we have. But you can keep saying something as much as you want. At the end of the day, it's about results, and the results are not good.

“Whether I believe or not – if we go 0-16, I'm always going to believe until the day I leave this game. But we've got to believe in ourselves as an entire unit, and right now, I don't know if that's happening.”

Rolle wasn't through, either. He criticized the Giants' up-and-down play this season, although given the way Colts quarterback Andrew Luck carved up his defense en route to a 30-point lead, it's hard to remember many of the ups.

Right now, this is a bad football team heading nowhere. And Rolle, a veteran, basically admitted as much in his candid postgame interview. His comments could be taken as an indictment of the coaching staff, too &mdash on a night when head coach Tom Coughlin fumbled a challenge flag toss, then didn't call a timeout, when either would've prevented an easy touchdown by the Colts.

It was obvious Coughlin didn't have his team ready to play Monday night.

“There are times when we can go out and play as good as any team in this league,” Rolle said. “And there are times when we can go out there and play as bad as any team in this league. You just don't know. We've got to figure out, 'Who are we as a team?'

“We're so inconsistent. We're so up and down. You don't know what you're going to get on Sunday – the good Giants, the bad Giants, the flat Giants, the Giants that play with energy. You never know what you're going to get."

That sort of sounds like a line from Forrest Gump, doesn't it? Rolle wasn't through, though.

“We've got to find a way to understand that this is the NFL," he said. "This is the league. This is where we've always wanted to be, and you've got to be passionate about the game we play. You've got to go out there and fight, scratch and claw, do whatever you can to get a win. Right now, it's not happening.”

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Antrel Rolle: Can’t get Victor Cruz screams ‘out of my head’

Antrel Rolle has watched the replay of the Victor Cruz injury “at least 15, 20 times to see what could have possibly happened’’ and admits he is having a hard time dealing with the season-ending loss of one of the Giants’ most invaluable players and personalities.

“Man, I just can’t get it out of my head the way he was just down there screaming, screaming to the top of his lungs and you didn’t know why,’’ Rolle said Tuesday on his weekly WFAN spot. “I don’t know, man, that’s a hard pill to swallow.’’

The fateful play, in the third quarter of last Sunday’s 27-0 loss in Philadelphia, was a fade thrown by Eli Manning. Cruz leaped for the ball in the right corner of the end zone and reached for his right knee before he even hit the ground. He had surgery Monday to repair a torn patellar tendon and faces a long and arduous recovery.

“I’ve seen Victor run that play 20 times in practice, I see him catch it 20 times in practice, some things are just freakish and that’s just a freakish accident,’’ said Rolle, who acknowledged that finishing the game was difficult when Cruz’s injury was “the only thing on your mind.’’

The Giants must move on without Cruz and must shake off the devastating loss in time for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Rolle said the Giants must keep Cruz in their thoughts.

“As a Giant and as a player, we need to definitely go out there and honor this guy,’’ said Rolle, one of five team captains, along with Cruz.

“You always find a reason to play this game for something bigger than yourself, and right now here’s an opportunity to go out there and play the game for something that’s bigger than yourself. Here’s a guy who contributed so much and put so much on the line for this team and for this organization, we have to make sure we go out there and do something to inspire him while he’s going through this tough time.’’

Rolle said he thought the Eagles and their fans “showed great character’’ for showing such concern for Cruz once everyone realized this was a serious injury.
As far as the rest of the Giants’ performance, Rolle was bewildered.

“Once the whistle was blown, there was no Giants team to play,’’ he said.

Rolle was asked to evaluate the performance of an offensive line that surrendered six sacks of Eli Manning (and two more of backup Ryan Nassib).

“I really don’t know exactly how it breaks down with the offensive line, what I do know is you take care of the guy in front of you,” Rolle said.  “You whup the man that’s in front of you, it’s just mano a mano. To me that’s what it looked like, we just got whupped, we got manhandled, we got punched in the mouth and we didn’t fight back. Scheme is one thing and there’s your heart and the way you attack the game.

“No one’s gonna be perfect, we all get beat at some point in time, but how you respond to that, how you respond to getting beat? Are you going to hang your head and allow yourself to stay beat, or are you gonna raise up and fight like a man? I didn’t see anyone raise up and fight like a man throughout the entire course of the game. We lost that team as a whole, I don’t care who may have thought they had a decent game or who may have thought they played OK, no one played OK. When you lose 27-zip, no one has a good game.

“There are no individuals on our team, especially when you lost 27-zip, I don’t care who you are. In my opinion, everyone’s grade is an F. 27-zero, that’s embarrassing, man.’’

What he perceived as a lack of fight is what bothers Rolle most of all.

“The loss is bad and the loss obviously bothered everyone within our organization, but I don’t like the way we didn’t fight back,’’ he said. “That’s my biggest concern, that’s my biggest problem. I felt like we took it, we took it, we took it, we took it and never once did we ever turn and fight back. That’s not being a football player, that’s about being a man. We need to do something about that this upcoming Sunday.’’

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Antrel Rolle annoys Eagles with NFC East talk

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It sounds like Giants safety Antrel Rolle has made some enemies in Philadelphia.

On Monday, Rolle dismissed the notion that the defending champion Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East this year, and said the division was weak last year.

He stood by those comments on Wednesday.

"I said what I said," Rolle said. "That’s no discredit to Philly. Obviously they were the best team in our division last year. They finished 10-6. That’s an awesome record for any team in the NFL. I said what I said. Division was weak, in my opinion. That doesn’t discredit Philly under any means. If they want to take it that way, then so be it. The game still has to be played come Sunday."

Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin sounded miffed by Rolle's comments.

"He talks too much," Maclin said Wednesday, according to colleague Phil Sheridan.

Maclin also talked about the photo a Giants fan tweeted Tuesday, showing Giants cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara making "0" signs with their hands, standing on either side of the fan wearing an Eagles jersey which trumpets the fact that the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl.

"Anybody can live in the past, man," Maclin said. "We just have to go out there and take care of business, we'll be all right. We'll continue to go out there and win. I don't care how we win. We can win 2-0. We can win 50-49. As long as we go out and win."

The showdown between the 4-1 Eagles and 3-2 Giants is still four days away -- we'll see if the trash talk intensifies in the next few days.

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Antrel Rolle: Defending champion Eagles not the NFC East favorites, division was 'weak' last year

EAST RUTHERFORD -- The Philadelphia Eagles are 4-1 and the defending NFC East champions. Giants safety Antrel Rolle doesn't seem to care.

In his eyes, the Eagles are on par with the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins. Despite their current record or past accomplishment, they're not the NFC East favorites. They were the beneficiary of a down year in the division.

"No," Rolle answered when asked if the Eagles were the team to beat in the division. "We just try to go out and play. We're just trying to make sure that we come out on top of our division this year.

"Last year is last year. I don't feel like there was much to really battle with last year in our division. I felt like it was a weak division last year. I feel like this year it's definitely up and rising. We didn't get a lot of credit in the preseason in our division, but I think now the tables are starting to turn a little bit. Dallas is playing good, Philly is playing good right now. I think we're rising and we're stepping up to the challenges and we're playing some good football right now."

There is truth to Rolle's claim that the NFC East was weak last season. The division combined to finish with a 28-36 record. Only the Eagles (10-6) had a winning record.

This year the division is off to a strong start. They are a combined 12-7. The Giants (3-2) and Cowboys (4-1) have joined the Eagles above .500. It should make for a much more competitive December.

"Everyone in the division is the team to beat," cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "Any given thing can happen when you have a division game."

The Eagles already played a thriller against Washington. The Giants blew out the Redskins the following week.

Coming into the season, the Eagles were the favorites in the division according to the Las Vegas odds. The Giants were longshots. Rolle never questioned whether his team was good enough to hang with the Eagles.

"I think you know the answer to that question," he said. "I never doubt. I never doubt."

The Giants have two key contests upcoming -- at Philadelphia and at Dallas. They know it's not going to be easy. The Eagles and Cowboys are a combined 8-2 right now.

"Philadelphia obviously has all kind of numbers. They'e played extremely well. Arguably they could be undefeated right now. We know what that challenge is about," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "It's exciting. We look forward to it. We always do."

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Antrel Rolle forgets about missed tackle and keeps playing

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Giants safety Antrel Rolle repeats an acronym to emphasize the need to shrug off mistakes. FIDO. Forget it and drive on.

Rolle gave a nod to FIDO late in the third quarter against the Falcons on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. He came up to stop running back Antone Smith on a seemingly innocent reception in the flat. But Rolle took a bad angle and missed the tackle, and Smith went untouched from there, 74 yards down the Giants' sideline and into the end zone.

It gave the Falcons a 20-10 lead but ultimately signaled another benchmark. The Giants dominated the Falcons from that point on in winning their third straight game, 30-20.

"I knew the play because I studied that play several times,'' Rolle said, noting he was in coverage thanks to an all-out blitz. "I just came up short. I didn't make the for-sure tackle.''

By "for-sure,'' Rolle meant making a safe tackle by taking a more conservative route to getting in front of Smith. "It's something I can learn from,'' Rolle said, "but you've got to forgive and drive on.''

And forget it and drive on. FIDO.

"That's my mentality,'' Rolle said. "You must have amnesia, especially playing in the defensive backfield. You can't dwell on the last play.''

Running back Rashad Jennings hopes his injured left knee will allow him to use FIDO. Jennings got hurt when he was "kind of ruffled up under the pile a little bit'' in the third quarter. He said afterward that he felt "all right'' but will have to await results of a magnetic resonance imaging test.

Jennings was having another fine day with 55 yards on 10 carries when he got hurt. He didn't go down without getting a good view of rookie backup Andre Williams, however.

Jennings was watching on TV inside the stadium when Williams completed a 65-yard day, including a 3-yard TD run late in the third quarter in which he trucked Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow. Williams called the run an "explosion of emotion.''

"Yeah, I was yelling, coaching him up from the TV,'' Jennings said. "I know what he was seeing, I know what he was thinking. So I'm proud of him. He's going to be a dominant player in this league.''

Jennings is hardly shy with the superlatives, once again calling the Giants a "great team.''

They had moments of greatness from another rookie, receiver Odell Beckham Jr., whose NFL debut included four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. Beckham missed most of training camp and the first four games with a hamstring injury. But he quickly adjusted to the speed of the NFL game.

"It was definitely a lot faster" than college, he said. "But as the game went on, it kind of started to slow down. You have to tell yourself, 'This is the NFL; this is the best of the best. But at the end of the day, you're here for a reason.''

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Antrel Rolle attributes Prince Amukamara's breakout season to ... sex?

EAST RUTHERFORD -- Maybe you think Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara is having his best season because he's growing up in the NFL, and four years into his career, he has the confidence and the belief that he can be a true impact player.

But fellow defensive back Antrel Rolle has another reason: sex.

Amukamara, a devout Christian who said he had abstained from premarital sex, was married earlier this year. Rolle said that he doesn't think Amukamara's breakout season is a coincidence.

"There are a lot of things different about Prince. For one, he's married, so he's (enjoying some things that he wasn't experiencing before he's married). For a man, that could definitely help him out. For a man ... I'm just being honest ... it's helping him out. He walks around with a little more swagger, which is something that we need, which is something that we love," Rolle said.

"Prince is a guy that keeps everyone upbeat. He's a funny guy, but when he goes out there playing, you definitely see him being more aggressive, capitalizing on his opportunities and he's accepting challenges. He's winning those challenges."

In four games, Amukamara already has set a career high with two interceptions. He's on pace for 100 tackles.

Of course, there is more to Amukamara's growth than his sex life. The Nebraska product has progressed every year. He showed signs in 2013 of becoming one of the league's better cornerbacks.

"Prince is a young man who's improved year in and year out," coach Tom Coughlin said last week. "And he's improved this past year to this point."

The physical cornerback is coming into his own as a 1-A option opposite Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Is it a coincidence that it comes just months after tying the knot? Not in Rolle's eyes.

"I think it all ties into one another, as far as him getting married, being able to [have sex]," Rolle said. "He's just developing more as a man and accepting challenges and being the dominant player that we need him to be that we know he's capable of."

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Antrel Rolle guarantees he'll get a pick-six this season

EAST RUTHERFORD – The Giants defense is riding high, especially after trouncing the Redskins and taking the NFL lead in team interceptions.

Antrel Rolle has two of them, both of which came with big returns. He just doesn't have a pick-six...yet.

We say yet because, this morning, Rolle guaranteed that he would finish the season with a pick-six while doing a weekly spot on WFAN radio.

"I guarantee you, before the season is over, that I will get a pick-six," he said, going as far as to wager a steak dinner with the hosts of the talk show.

Of course, this is just a little off day fun for the Giants but it speaks to a larger theme. This team has not had the confidence to act this way in a very long time. They have not been able to call out opponents, brag about their own accomplishments or even allow themselves to reasonably think about the NFC East in more than a year.

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Antrel Rolle still feels Taylor's loss

LANDOVER, Md. – The photo remains on display in the living room of Antrel Rolle’s suburban Miami home to this day.

The Giants’ safety does not recall how it initially ended up there, but he believes his older sister, Alexia, is responsible for its placement.

The memories captured in that frame flood back at the first mention of its significance.

Antrel Rolle and Sean Taylor together, then 14-year-old football stars of the eighth-grade Florida City Razorbacks, future All-Americans for the University of Miami and first-round NFL draft picks selected in the Top 8 in consecutive years.

"He’s the best teammate I’ve ever had," Rolle said. "I tell everyone that to this day. He’s the best teammate I’ve ever had. I looked up to him as a player. He had my back; I had his back."

Nearly seven years have passed since Taylor was shot and killed at the age of 24 in a burglary at his home. The NFL Network will air a one-hour, NFL Films-produced documentary Friday night on the life and legacy of Taylor, enshrined as one of the greatest players in franchise history despite playing just three seasons as a professional with the Redskins.

Rolle spoke with The Record about the impact Taylor had on him and the emotion he promises will be overwhelming from the moment he and the Giants step inside FedEx Field for tonight’s nationally-televised showdown with the Redskins.

"Every time I walk in that stadium, there’s no question I feel him there," Rolle said. "The Ring of Fame, everywhere his name is, I make sure I find it. Every time I get to that stadium, I make sure I pray that I represent his number, represent the home, represent what we called ‘the crib,’ and tell him to look out for me, make sure he keeps me safe and injury-free, and allows me to go out and play ball the way we always did."

Rolle and Taylor played youth football together as 6-year-olds with the Homestead Hurricanes. Not only did they share uncommon skill and a passion for the game, the bond was strengthened under the watchful eye of their fathers, both police chiefs of neighboring small-towns.

"It’s where I really learned what chemistry means. The chemistry we had as teammates was phenomenal," Rolle said. "We never had to say a word, yet we were always on the same page."

Rolle and Taylor both wore No. 21 coming out of college. But when the former signed with the Giants in 2010 as a free agent, he chose to wear Taylor’s No. 26 from their days at Miami in honor of his late teammate.

"To me, it never seems like he’s gone. Seems like he’s on a long vacation, it doesn’t seem real even now," Rolle said. "I mean, you lose a lot of people in your life, a lot of loved ones, a lot of family members, but for some reason, this one definitely sticks out more than the majority of my family members. This is one that was very, very, very hard to swallow. I still haven’t been able to swallow it."

Rolle remembers being in Arizona preparing for the Cardinals’ game against Cleveland when he received the phone call with the stunning news about Taylor from his mother, Armelia.

He played with a heavy heart that Sunday and made sure he was on a plane back to Miami immediately after the game for Taylor’s memorial service the following day.

"We didn’t have a day-to-day relationship or even a month-to-month relationship [once they got to the NFL]. Just knowing that he was OK was good enough for me," Rolle said. "And when that got taken away, it put a lot of things in perspective. You never anything for granted. We started together and I still represent 26 for him. I try to be the best player I can be and make myself proud, make my family proud and make him proud, too."

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Giants defense takes Rolle’s meeting message to heart

Sometimes, the seeds to victory are sown in the days leading to kickoff.

In the case of the Giants’ resounding 30-17 win over the Texans Sunday at MetLife Stadium, those seeds can be traced directly to the players-only meeting Giants safety Antrel Rolle called on Wednesday and to the challenge the coaches presented to the defense to create turnovers.

The theme that came from Rolle’s players-only meeting, as reported exclusively by The Post, was about the Giants letting it hang out, playing relaxed and with abandon — without fear of making mistakes.

And the theme that came first from coach Tom Coughlin in his Wednesday team meeting and was reemphasized by defensive coordinator Perry Fewell in his Saturday night defensive meeting was a challenge to create turnovers — something the Giants had not done once in the first two games (not coincidentally both losses).

The Giants responded by forcing three Houston turnovers on three interceptions that led to 10 points and were critical in the victory.

It was fitting that Rolle would make one of the game-changing plays, picking off Texans’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with 1:48 remaining in the first half and returning it 25 yards to the Houston 2-yard line. Three plays later, the Giants took a 14-0 lead on a Rashad Jennings touchdown run and the Giants never looked back.

“I saw a different team [Sunday],’’ Rolle said. “It started in practice this week. I think we grew closer as a team this week. Coach Coughlin did an excellent job of keeping us together, doing the little things that put us over the top. What went into my thoughts [calling the players meeting] was I felt like we weren’t playing relaxed. I felt like we were trying to do too much as a team. We were trying to be perfect. This week was just about relaxing. We know how to do this.

“That was my message to the team. I challenged everyone. I challenge the defense, our offense, our special teams and the coaching staff. We did this together. We were all in. It was all inclusive.’’

They sure were.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara got it started by picking off Fitzpatrick in the first quarter — the first turnover created by the Giants’ defense this season. The Giants got no points out of that because tight end Larry Donnell fumbled the ball away inside the Houston 5 on the ensuing drive.

Cornerback Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie picked off Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter to seal the game, leading to the Giants final field goal.

Defensive end Robert Ayers Jr., in his first year with the Giants, was one of the listeners in the players-only meeting, and he was motivated by it.

“It definitely lit a spark under a lot guys,’’ Ayers said. “I believe we’re only as good as our leaders, and we’ve got good leaders here. They’ve been through the wars, they’re proven winners. Everyone listened to what those guys said and understood task.’’

Linebacker Jameel McClain said of the turnovers: “We just saw an accumulation of a lot of hard work. You look at the turnover we got. Those are our great players — our big players making big plays.’’

On Wednesday, Coughlin put up a graphic in the meeting showing the Giants as minus-six in turnover ratio and having not created a single turnover on defense. On Saturday night, Fewell did the same thing in the defensive meeting.

“Coach Coughlin and coach Fewell challenged us by putting up on the board that we have zero turnovers as a defense and that needs to change,’’ Amukamara said. “He used the term that we need to be more ‘Zack Bowman-ish,’ because Bowman is known for punching the ball out and getting picks in practice. I think we rose to the challenge [Sunday].’’

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What Antrel Rolle preached in players-only meeting

You might see a Giants team you don’t recognize from the first two weeks of this season when they play the 2-0 Texans Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

You might see a more aggressive, angry Giants team playing with less tentativeness and more abandon than you saw in their lackluster losses to the Lions and Cardinals that so far have marred this season.

And if you do see that team — if you see the defense slow down Houston’s star running back Arian Foster and receiver Andre Johnson, see the offense play with more purpose which should lead to more points, see them beat the Texans — the talk in the winning locker room will be centered around a special Rolle call that took place on Wednesday.

The Post learned exclusively Thursday that safety Antrel Rolle, the Giants’ resident vocal leader and a big part of the team’s soul, called a players-only meeting and was the first of several players to speak.

The message?

“Just go out there and play fast,’’ Rolle told The Post. “First and foremost, know your assignment and that’s going to allow you to play fast and confident. Go out there expecting to win, expecting to make that play — as opposed to playing cautious and not really knowing what the outcome is going to be.

“You’ve got to go out there expecting to dominate. The mind is a powerful thing. Mind controls all.’’

Giants safety Stevie Brown told The Post: “Antrel called the meeting and he started it off, with everyone else chipping in their own point of view. That definitely was the message: We need to quit waiting and take the game to the opponent.’’

If you’ve watched the Giants closely in these first two games, you have yet to see them really get after it. The Lions jumped them as soon as they got off the team buses in Detroit. The Giants played better last Sunday in their home opener, but they let the Cardinals hang around long enough to steal the game in the fourth quarter.

Some tentativeness was to be expected from the offense, dealing with offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system for the first time. But defensively, the Giants have not been totally right, either, and it has cost them.

“We’ve got to go into this game knowing that we’re going to win. We can’t go into this game tiptoeing and trying to feeling our way into it, we’ve got to be the type of team that throws the first punch,’’ linebacker Spencer Paysinger said.

“People have been a little tight and afraid to make mistakes,’’ Brown said. “We have to get to the point where we can’t walk on egg shells, we can’t be afraid to make mistakes. We know what we’re doing. We need to play how we know we can play and go out there and take it to [the Texans].’’

Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who like Rolle is one of the team leaders, but a much more understated, E.F. Hutton type, also has a message for his teammates.

“Turn it loose,’’ he told The Post. “It’s time. Were all prepared. We’re all professionals. We’re better than them, so let’s go get it.’’

Kiwanuka acknowledged there has been “a hesitation’’ and “a bit of unsureness’’ to the entire team in the first two games.

“You can see it on film,’’ he said. “But we’re getting it corrected as we speak. [Thursday] was a great day practice-wise with energy and confidence. When it finally turns for us, there’s no doubt in my mind we’re a championship-caliber team. It’s a matter of going out there and getting the first ‘W’ this week and the next thing you know we’re trying to get into the playoffs.’’

Brown said the words of Rolle and the other leaders in the meeting resonate with more power “because you’re hearing it from your peers.’’

“It’s not the same as hearing it from a coach,’’ Brown said. “It might be the same message, but it’s definitely different hearing it from the guys who are going through the same thing as you, who have been with you through OTAs, in the weight room and have experienced everything you’ve experienced.

“The thing about Antrel is he’s been All-Pro, he’s been a Pro Bowler, he’s been to a Super Bowl. Everything he talks about he’s done. He talks it, he walks it, so it’s easy to follow him.’’

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Antrel Rolle: Giants have no excuses for ‘must-win’ game

t’s only Week 3, but the 0-2 Giants are already feeling desperate.

“It’s a must-win,” safety Antrel Rolle said Tuesday on WFAN as the Giants look to pick up their first win Sunday against the 2-0 Texans. “No ifs, ands or buts about it.”

“We’re going to bring the pain,” he added.

Rolle said he isn’t worried about the state of the team, despite the poor start that has reminded fans about last season’s 0-6 beginning. The Giants have been outscored 60-28 by the Lions and Cardinals, but Rolle said he believes they are getting closer.

“Give it a little time,” he said. “We’re 0-2. We’re not down. We’re not the same team as we were last year. We’re not that team, and we’re going to go and show you this upcoming Sunday.

“We’re right there. If we find a way not to beat ourselves, we’re right there. Our talent level is through the roof.”

Rolle expects to see a different team Sunday against the undefeated Texans. That includes wide receiver Victor Cruz, the target of boo-birds in the fourth quarter this past Sunday because of two killer drops.

“Victor will get them to play that salsa music soon enough,” Rolle said. “Victor will make those plays for us. He’s human. We’re all going to have those moments at some point in our career. Victor has been clutch for us for a number of years. I look for him to have a big game Sunday. I’m sure of that.”

Lastly, Rolle called on Giants fans to make a difference at MetLife Stadium against the Texans. There were plenty of empty seats for the home opener against the Cardinals.

“I’m going to challenge the fans, all the fans of the New York Giants, this week to be even louder, and I want them to challenge us to be better,” he said. “In order for them to be louder, we have to give them something to be loud about. I challenge us to make more players, to get them into the game.

“We have to give them something to cheer for, we have to give them [a reason] to get out of their seats.”

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Comments EXCLUSIVE Preview of Article Running TOMORROW on the 2001 Hurricanes

A message from Aaron Torres of

“They’re the greatest team of all-time.”

It’s a statement we often hear about the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, both by fans, and the media members who cover college football as well.

But after hearing it earlier this year, a light-bulb went off in my head: Just about everyone seems to have an opinion the 2001 ‘Canes, except Miami’s former players and coaches themselves.

And from there, another thought immediately popped into my head: What if I tracked down as many Hurricanes players and coaches from that 2001 season as I could, interviewed them, and asked what they thought about their team, and where they rank in college football history.

How awesome would that be?

Well, six months later, the answer was “spectacular” and after collecting interviews with roughly 50 former players and coaches, an article, the definitive article on the greatest team in the history of college football will run on on Wednesday.

If you’re a ‘Canes fan (which I have to imagine you are if you’re reading this website), I can promise you that you can enjoy the article.

But here’s the thing: During the process of reporting the article, I learned that I wasn’t the only one who shared the same passion for the 2001 ‘Canes. As it turned out, one of the former players I interviewed, Najeh Davenport, also shared that passion, and like me wanted to tell the world his team’s story. Najeh recently released a documentary about the team, titled ‘The U: Reloaded’ which premiered last month. Through Najeh, I met his business partner Platon, who runs things here at

And it was through my friendship with Platon, that we’ve decided to give Miami fans a treat. Before the article runs in full on Wednesday, Platon was nice enough to offer up his space here on, to run an excerpt. It’s a treat for all you diehard ‘Canes fans, and proCanes is the only place that you can read this exclusive excerpt.

Of course the article will still run in its entirety Wednesday, and if you enjoy what you read here, be sure to check out the article on You can also follow on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, where I’ll post the link once it goes live.

In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt from the article….

In the excerpt, we pick things up shortly after Larry Coker was hired as head coach, as the team prepared for the 2001 season.

As you’ll learn however, it really didn’t matter who the Hurricanes had hired as head coach. The team was not going to be denied the title that had eluded them the year before.

Again, enjoy and be sure to look for the full article on Wednesday.

The final, and arguably most important piece to the 2001 team was set: Miami had its head coach.

Now it was time to get to work. A team that had been denied a shot at a National Championship the season before, was not going to allow that to happen again.

Joaquin Gonzalez (senior, offensive tackle): The one thing I remember going into 2001 was, Larry Coker and his staff, as well as the players decided that we weren’t going to leave the decision on who plays for the championship on anyone else’s plate but our own. 

Brett Romberg (junior, center): (Our mindset was) ‘This year it ain’t gonna be decided on a poll or whatever kind of computer analysis.’ We were worked up, ready to get back at it.

Maurice Sikes (sophomore, safety): If you’re going to say you’re a champion, earn it. Don’t leave it to a voter; don’t leave it to anything to chance.’

D.J. Williams (sophomore, linebacker): It was great to be there with Butch, but when he left our plan didn’t change.

Brett Romberg (junior, center): We were anxious to get back at it. We didn’t want downtime. Usually you’re excited to get back home, brag ‘We just won the Sugar Bowl’ but we didn’t want that. We were like, ‘Let’s get back in the weight room, and get after it.

Ed Reed (senior, safety): When we got back to Miami to start spring football … my God. That spring before that National Championship year, those off-season workouts, it was like no other in the world.

Andreu Swasey (strength and conditioning coach): That was our DNA (to work hard). That is part of our system. It wasn’t talent-driven, it was work-ethic driven.

Mike Rumph (senior, cornerback): I don’t feel like we get ever get credit for our work ethic. I played six years in the NFL and the hardest I ever worked was at Miami. Those summers were treacherous.

Frank Gore (freshman, running back): My first day I get there, we were doing agilities with the linebackers; I’m competing with Chris Campbell, God rest his soul, and I’m like ‘Man, I think I made the wrong decision.’ I’m the top (high school) running back, how is a linebacker beating me in agilities?

Clinton Portis (junior, running back): We competed in everything! We all wanted to be the fastest player, we all wanted to be the best basketball player, we all wanted to be the highest jumper, we all wanted to be the best at everything we did.

Antrel Rolle (freshman, cornerback): The way we practiced, it was insane. I’ll be honest with you, it was literally insane. You would think that we did not like each other, on the field, off the field.

Mike Rumph (senior, cornerback): It was just a machine. It was a machine but we were just so afraid to have failure.

Curtis Johnson (wide receivers coach): Andreu Swasey said this all the time: The players were always around. They were always around us, always around the office. It’d be Friday night, Saturday morning, they’d be around, they’d want to want watch more film, and we couldn’t get rid of these guys for nothing. Their whole lives revolved around this little football team.

Mark Stoops (defensive backs coach): Soon after I was hired by Larry (as defensive backs coach in 2001) I was in my office working on a Saturday and I saw one of my players come by, then I saw another one. Over the course of the morning several guys stopped up and were talking. And I thought it was odd. I asked one of them, ‘What are you doing here on a Saturday morning?’ And one of them just looked at me and tilted his head and was like ‘Coach, this is just what we do.’

Mike Rumph (senior, cornerback): People didn’t see the Saturdays where we met up as a team (in the off-season). Or the meetings we’d have 6 in the morning, where there were no coaches there.

Brett Romberg (junior, center): Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m., no matter how hung-over you were, you are in the field.

Mark Stoops (defensive backs coach): Over the course of the morning several guys stopped up and were talking. And I thought it was odd. I asked one of them, ‘What are you doing here on a Saturday morning?’ And one of them just looked at me and tilted his head and was like ‘Coach, this is just what we do.’

Brett Romberg (junior, center): Granted, you didn’t have to be there. At any other school a guy might show up at 8:05 with his shoes untied or something. Not at Miami. No, if you didn’t show up at 7:55 ready to go, you got shunned. Nobody wants to talk to you, because you think you’re so much bigger than the group. There were never any egos.

Mark Stoops (defensive backs coach): They did seven-on-seven with each other, the o-line and d-line worked basically the whole year round. That’s just what they did; it was part of their culture… I was blown away by the player’s self-motivation and how great the leaders were there.

Don Soldinger (running backs coach): One time, Frank Gore called me at 3:30 a.m. to ask me about pass protections.

Frank Gore (freshman, running back): He said ‘If you need help, don’t be afraid to call.’ So I was studying my plays and I called him and told him to quiz me.

Andreu Swasey (strength and conditioning coach): Who stood out as leaders and workers from that group? Can I say ‘The team?’ I had so many guys.

Curtis Johnson (wide receivers coach): It started during 2000, but the players, they really policed themselves. We had no altercations, we had no nothing.

Ed Reed (senior, safety): We told coach, ‘If anything happens with the players on the team coach, we got it. Don’t you worry about it.’

D.J. Williams (sophomore, linebacker): As far as punishment, that was all done within the locker room.

Andreu Swasey (strength and conditioning coach): If you didn’t make your times, it wasn’t pretty for you. And I didn’t have anything to do with it! I did everything to help you, I might try to save you, but the rest of the guys would be like ‘Coach, you might not want to see this.’

Phillip Buchanon (junior, cornerback): The coaches aren’t gonna handle this. This is our locker room. We’re going to handle this.

Andreu Swasey (strength and conditioning coach): They handled their own discipline. So I’d start talking and Ed Reed would cut me off, like ‘I don’t mean any disrespect…’ then he’d handle the lecture for me. And I’m like ‘Damn, ok.’

Curtis Johnson (wide receivers coach): I remember, Sean Taylor was a freshman and I was watching him right at the beginning of two-a-days and Sean, he just didn’t run (as) fast (as he could) or something. And the coach went to get on him, and before the coach could get there Ed Reed just jumped on him; Sean was almost crying. It was the worst thing you could ever see, but the coaches didn’t have to do any of that, the players did it all. When that happens, I knew we were well on our way.

Najeh Davenport (senior, fullback): This may seem bad to say, but my senior year, Coach Coker was the head coach, Coach Chud was the offensive coordinator, but once we learned the system, that’s all she wrote.

Maurice Sikes (sophomore, safety): (Coker) knew how great of a team he had. He had been there with us. We had great leadership on our team, we had great coaches, great assistants, great starters, great back-ups. We knew what we had, and knew we didn’t need much tinkering.

Brett Romberg (junior, center): Butch Davis had done a great job steering that ship and doing a great job in building it, and all we needed was somebody to maintain the animal. Coker was the perfect fit.

Maurice Sikes (sophomore, safety): He had a very good understanding of the fact that he had a masterpiece. All he had to do was take it to the damn museum.

Najeh Davenport (senior, fullback): We were teaching each other, coaching each other, watching film together. We were destined to win the National Championship. 

Randy Shannon (defensive coordinator): I felt like we had a bunch of guys who had a common goal. They wanted to win a championship.
Aaron is a contributor at You can follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, and be sure to check for the full article on Wednesday.

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Antrel Rolle bemoans lack of takeaways by defense

As if the turnovers by the offense weren't bad enough, the Giants' defense is not doing its part to even the ledger. After almost two weeks of football, they remain one of four teams without a takeaway, joining the Chiefs, Steelers and Colts, who are playing Monday night. Those four teams have a combined record of 1-6 heading into the Colts game against the Eagles.

"I thought we had a couple of chances for interceptions," Tom Coughlin said on Monday. "Why we're not playing the ball as sharply as we need to [I don't know]."

This from a secondary that was supposed to be the strength of the defense. Instead, through two games, they have looked hesitant and almost reluctant to make plays. Safety Antrel Rolle said they need their aggression to match their talent.

"You have to take chances," he said. "I don't feel like we're taking enough chances as a defense as far as believing what we see. If you see it, go get it. If they make a play, we line up and we play again. You have to take chances. You can't be a defense that's scared to get beat or, you know, not sure, second-guessing yourselves. We're all smart guys. We all have played the game a long time so if you see it, you've got to go get it."

The Giants have lost their last 12 games without a takeaway, including the two this season. It's become as much a barometer of success as their turnovers.
"We're not taking the ball away from opponents," Coughlin said. "It's an issue now. No fumbles. No interceptions. It's something every team counts on in the NFL."

There were a few chances for those big momentum-swinging plays on Sunday against the Cardinals. Safety Stevie Brown nearly picked off a deep pass, one he probably would have grabbed two years ago before his knee injury that kept him off the field in 2013. "He's not back yet to where he was a couple of years ago," Coughlin said. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also had a chance to pick a pass off but didn't.

"There were a couple of them out there, maybe a third that we should have had that we didn't," Coughlin said. ""We're getting closer. I think we're in position. We gotta catch the ball."

One of the frustrating aspects of Sunday's lack of takeaways was that it came against a backup quarterback seeing his first game action since 2010 in Drew Stanton.

"I thought on a couple of occasions the quarterback was actually staring the ball down where he was going and still we weren't influenced enough to go in that direction and be in position to make a play," Coughlin said, seemingly backing up Rolle's opinion that the defenders are not trusting themselves.

Rolle noted that players shouldn't go rogue and start running all over the field to make plays.

"You can't get too greedy; you just have to capture the ones that come to you," he said. "You can't play out of the defense and start doing your own thing because that's when everything's going to get out of control."

But when the chance is there . . .

"I think you're only going to get very minimal opportunities to get turnovers in a game," Rolle said, "so when an opportunity does present itself, you have to go get it, you have to attack it."

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Antrel Rolle: Loss does evoke memories of NY Giants' 0-6 start

It was just one loss, but yes, it has Antrel Rolle just a little bit worried.

On Tuesday, during his paid weekly spot on WFAN, the Giants safety admitted that Monday night’s blowout loss to the Detroit Lions could lead some of his teammates to recall last year’s season-opening six-game losing streak.

“To be totally honest with you, yeah,” Rolle said. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that was a concern. Last year left such a bitter taste in our mouth, you want to get off to an early start so you can erase that memory. The way we looked last night, we didn’t look good. We didn’t look good under any means.”

Rolle was critical of both the offense and the defense in the loss. He called the struggling air attack a “work in progress,” and later added that the defense was “lacking in trust.”

Mostly, though, he called for his teammates to show more effort and intensity on the field.

“I feel like the team needs more fight, we need more attitude,” he said. “I think we’re relying on our talent way too much as opposed to going out there and being dominant, being feisty, having that dog.”

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Antrel Rolle upset with release of Charles James II

Antrel Rolle does not make front-office decisions for the Giants, but that doesn't mean he won't disagree with one every now and then. Tuesday was one of those times.

The veteran safety took to social media to voice his displeasure with the team waiving second-year cornerback Charles James II. James was one of 12 players waived or waived / injured Tuesday to trim the roster to 75 players and he was the only one who was a member of the Giants in 2013.

"In this league, you witness many things," Rolle wrote on Instagram. "Something you agree with and some you don't but no matter what, you have to keep fighting and keep driving to be the player you can be and the best teammate you can be. BUT THIS ONE HURTS! Charles James has the heart of a lion and is exactly what any organization should have on their team. Eight interceptions in OTA and training camp I think speaks for itself. The best training camp amongst cornerbacks in my eyes but today he was released."

Rolle went on to post more thoughts, mostly inspirational for James.

James was a feisty player who was often at the center of the team's pregame huddles and broke down the defensive backs after practices. He was an energizing player on the field who always seemed to be around the ball, but though he made the plays more exciting, he rarely just made the plays. He gave up several catches against the Jets on Friday.

"Charles obviously was a guy that did a good job this fall in the gunner position," Tom Coughlin said of the player's special teams contributions, "but needed some improvement in some other areas that we thought were going to be a little more productive."

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#NFLRank: Antrel Rolle No. 83 on defense

There's no shortage of poor personnel decisions that led the New York Giants to last year's 7-9 record and their subsequent roster rebuild, but signing safety Antrel Rolle to a five-year, $37 million contract in 2010 was among the better moves in recent franchise history.

We've ranked every player in the NFL -- a top 100 on offense and another on defense -- and we're rolling out the results 20 at a time (10 on offense, 10 on defense) per day. Today brings us players No. 81-90 on either side of the ball, and Rolle checking in at No. 83 on defense offers a chance to reflect on just what he's turned out to be for the Giants.

Rolle is the No. 13-ranked safety and the No. 25-ranked defensive back on this list, but quibbling about whether he should be ranked ahead of Donte Whitner on the former list or Johnathan Joseph on the latter doesn't interest me too much. Rolle's value to the Giants has been diverse and significant, and it rises beyond stats and on-field performance.

Rolle arrived in New York at the age of 27 and chafed under coach Tom Coughlin's rigid, old-school structure. But he grew quickly, and he and Coughlin proved wise enough to realize they could be of great benefit to each other. Over the past three seasons Rolle has developed as a team leader, captain and spokesman, and he handles the role gracefully and naturally. Sure, he says crazy things on the radio sometimes. But these days they're almost always about how great he thinks his team is, and that's a perfectly acceptable method for a leader to try to keep his teammates in a productive frame of mind.

On the field, Rolle has played opposite three different starting safeties the past three years, and all three have flourished. He teamed with Kenny Phillips (who predated and helped mentor him as a Giant) in the Super Bowl season of 2011. Stevie Brown replaced an injured Phillips in 2012 and collected eight interceptions, roaming the post safety position while Rolle played up in the box because he knew how and Brown hadn't learned it yet. Will Hill replaced an injured Brown in 2013 and became one of the best playmaking safeties in the league by season's end before smoking himself out of a job this spring.

Rolle has been a constant in a Giants secondary that's seen its share of ups and downs over the past four years. And last year, largely freed from the nickel corner responsibilities he willingly assumed so often early in his Giants career, he flourished as a playmaker in his own right and earned a Pro Bowl trip to Hawaii. His coaches say he's just coming into his own as a safety, at age 31, because this is the first time since he signed with the Giants that he's been able to focus on the position exclusively. They believe he'll get the best out of his former Cardinals teammate Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, one of their big free-agent cornerback signings, and Rolle has a track record that backs up that belief.

One of the best 100 defensive players in the NFL? Nobody in the Giants' building would disagree. Rolle's as solid an acquisition as any they've made over the past 10 years.

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Antrel Rolle is smiling thinking out of the box

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Coming off his best season, New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle has reason to smile.

Not only have the Giants restocked the secondary in the offseason, they finally have enough cornerbacks to allow Rolle to stay at safety in passing situations instead of switching to the nickel back.

It was a position that he has disliked since joining the Giants in 2010, but one he played every week to help the team.

With the free agent signings of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond III and Zack Bowman and the return of Prince Amukamara, Jayron Hosley and Trumaine McBride, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has the depth and talent to keep Rolle in his natural position.

For now, Thurmond is the nickel back.

"Yeah that's great," Rolle said Wednesday as the Giants (2-0) continued preparations for Saturday's preseason game in Indianapolis against the Colts.

"Having Walter here is a huge plus and a huge asset for our defense. He's a phenomenal player. Not just nickel back, but a player. You talk about special teams, you talk about just being a corner on the boundary and being a slot-nickel. He can do it all."

Rolle did it all last season for the Giants. The 31-year-old led the team with 98 tackles and six interceptions, both career highs. It earned him his third Pro Bowl appearance.

As a full-time safety, Fewell said there is no telling how good Rolle can be this season.

"That's up to Antrel," Fewell said. "We're giving him all the reps back there, he uses the term, 'I'm getting my eyes back.' So he can now see the field instead of seeing down in the box and the perimeter. Now he sees the entire field. I think that's important for him to develop that to become as good as he can be as a safety."

This is also going to be a season where Rolle emerges as the undisputed leader of the defense.

For the past couple of years, he and defensive end Justin Tuck shared the role. Tuck signed with Oakland as a free agent in the offseason and now it's fair to say Rolle is in charge among the players.

Linebacker Jon Beason might have shared that role, but he injured a foot in the offseason and has been on the physically unable to perform list.

So Rolle is the spokesman for the defense, which has allowed one touchdown in two preseason games.

"I'm very pleased with I've seen thus far," Rolle said. "Obviously, there's a lot of areas to clean up and fine-tune. Cut down on a lot of the penalties, especially in the defensive backfield, and eliminating a lot of the big plays: big play run and big play pass.

"Overall, I think we've been doing a great job in keeping a team out of the end zone, which is always our number one priority as a defense. So far, so good."
The defense will be challenged this weekend, facing the Colts and Andrew Luck.

"I think Luck is an elite quarterback," Rolle said. "He's an outstanding young and rising star in the league. I think he possesses great tools and great poise as a quarterback. This is going to be the best test that we've done thus far this year with the receiver tandem they do have."

Indianapolis should test the secondary with Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and former Giant Hakeem Nicks.

"I think we've been gelling excellent. Not just good, but excellent," Rolle said. "As a defensive back unit, I think our chemistry is definitely where it needs to be and it's going to continue to rise.

"We're friends on and off the field, which is always something you need when you're dealing with people on an everyday basis. We all love each other and we all play for one another. More importantly, we all understand what we have at task right now, which is to go out there and see the ball and get the ball."

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Antrel Rolle could stay at safety all season for Giants

Whenever defensive coordinator Perry Fewell wants to tease defensive back Antrel Rolle, or put him in his place, or just draw a smile from the Giants' only Pro Bowl player from a season ago, he knows what he has to do.

"I say, 'I'm going to put you back at nickel,'" Fewell said.

That's enough to shake the unshakable Rolle because for the last few years he has lived half his life as a safety and half as a slot cornerback. It's something Rolle has come to expect, even though every summer he starts out at just the one position. Then a cornerback gets hurt and next thing you know Rolle is back down at the line of scrimmage face-guarding a receiver.

This year, though, promises to be different. The Giants bolstered their cornerback position so much that there are players who would have been starters for them a year ago who will likely have trouble making the 53-man roster. And most appealing to Rolle is the addition of Walter Thurmond III, a true nickel cornerback who plays the slot.

Fewell jokingly searched for wood to knock on when asked about Thurmond allowing Rolle to play safety the entire year. He finally tapped a reporter on the head for good luck.

"We feel confident in the development of Walter and we're trying to develop several other players so that we can allow Antrel to play that safety position," he said.

That would not only make Rolle happy, it should make him better.

"We're giving him all the reps back there," Fewell said. "He uses the term, 'I'm getting my eyes back.' So he can now see the field instead of seeing down in the box and the perimeter. Now he sees the entire field. I think that's important for him to develop that to become as good as he can be as a safety."

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Antrel Rolle on the new-look Giants and what lies ahead for Eli Manning

Entering his 10th NFL season and fifth with the Giants, New York safety Antrel Rolle has emerged as one of the team's leaders and most reliable performers, with only four players pre-dating him on the roster.’s Don Banks caught up with the always quotable Rolle just before New York’s first practice of training camp at the team’s Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., and went in search of answers about the Giants’ pivotal 2014 season: 

SI: It was only 29 months ago this team won a Super Bowl, and yet the Giants are still very much a team in transition in 2014, with a new offense and offensive coordinator (Ben McAdoo) and so many familiar faces missing (Justin Tuck, Hakeem Nicks, Chris Snee, Linval Joseph, Brandon Jacobs, etc.). Does all the change that has occurred buy this team some time or simply create even more of a sense of urgency to win now?
Rolle: It’s definitely a win-now time here. There’s no room for error at this point. We know that we have the talent here. It’s up to us to go out there and put it together. We can’t make excuses for ourselves, because there’s transition on each and every team throughout the NFL, each and every season. We’re going to hold our heads high and hold each other accountable and go out there and do what we need to do for this franchise and for ourselves.

SI: The Giants haven’t missed the playoffs three consecutive years since 1994-96, but the franchise is now working on back-to-back non-playoff seasons and has failed to make the postseason in four of the past five years. Can you feel that pressure as this season begins, especially after that ugly 0-6 start to 2013?
Rolle: The attitude we have always have here is that we’re winners around here. The last two years we haven’t really displayed our best work. We understand that. We also understand that that’s the past, this is now. So we can dictate our own future right now if we just go out there and control what we can and do what we can between those white lines.

SI: From the other side of the ball, can you give me a sense of what (new offensive coordinator) Ben McAdoo’s offense looks like to you early on? It seems predicated on getting the ball out quickly, finding play-makers in space on shorter pass patterns and letting them do what they do best, without many plays that take a long time to develop?
Rolle: I see it as opportunistic offense. It allows guys to go out there and show their best tools. It allows guys to go out there and play with more of a comfort zone, relying more on their talent, and not asking them to do too much thinking or even over-thinking. It allows everyone to go out and be effective in what they’re doing, but more importantly it’s an offense where everyone’s going to be involved and everyone’s going to get their touches. It’s going to make us more versatile.

SI: As one of the Giants' team leaders, what do you make of some observers questioning whether or not we’ve already seen the best work of quarterback Eli Manning’s career and wondering if last year’s struggles were the start of his decline?
Rolle: People are always tied to their own opinions. There’s going to always be questions about all the players in the NFL. If they have a good year, they’re the best. If they have a down year, maybe they don’t have it any more and they’re done. We as players all understand that’s part of the deal. Eli didn’t have his best season last year. He’s aware of that. I can’t say anyone had their best season around here last year. Because we were 7-9. So it doesn’t matter what you do as an individual, when you’re 7-9, you’re 7-9 and it’s not a good season.

But I’m overly confident in Eli Manning. He has a look on his face when he walks around the facility as if he has something to prove. He has some ass to kick and we’re going to be right there alongside of him the whole way.

SI: The Giants signed two new cornerbacks in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of Denver and Walter Thurmond of Seattle, and both of them played their most recent game right next door at MetLife Stadium, in the Super Bowl. How much better is the Giants secondary after adding two players with recent Super Bowl history?
Rolle: Those two guys, for one, they want to win because they’ve been part of winning organizations and they know what that’s all about. And more importantly they’re both guys who love to go out there and compete each and every down. That’s something that you need on a team, because this league is new and improved every year. There’s a lot of swagger on teams now a days, a lot of winning demeanor that helps win games. Teams are playing with more attitude than ever before, and it seems like the teams with attitude, those teams nine times out of 10 are winning the game. It’s not always the most talented teams that wins, it’s the teams that go out there and want it more and have that winning attitude. I think that’s something that the organization here realized and we went out and brought those guys here to help us out with that.

SI: As a fellow secondary member and teammate, what was your honest review of Walter Thurmond’s bright-gold shorts suit that he rocked at the ESPY’s last week in Los Angeles?
Rolle: I think he’s in a league of his own. Definitely. But I wouldn’t mind being in that league. But you have to have the legs, the Thurmond legs, to pull that look off. Skinny thighs and big calves. But he’s a trend-setter, man. I’m not going to knock him for that. A guy’s swag is a guy’s swag, you know? He’s got confidence. First guy to wear a shorts suit and he makes his gold. He did it.

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Antrel Rolle Posts Inspirational Message About Miami On Instagram, Says ‘The U’ Is Where He Learned To Grind

The University of Miami’s football program sees a lot of its former players come back to campus to train in the offseason. Antrel Rolle is one of those players. 

The former Hurricanes defensive back, now a safety in the NFL for the New York Giants, played for Miami from 2001-04. He won a national championship and a unanimous first-team All-American as a senior in 2004. Following his collegiate career, Rolle was picked by the Arizona Cardinals with the No. 8 pick in the NFL Draft. 

Rolle, 31, is likely nearing the end of his football career. He wants to make the final years of his NFL career, count, though. Rolle spent much of this offseason training at Miami and he thinks his spring and summer workouts will result in the best year of his career this fall. 

“The work I have put in this offseason will determine the outcome of this season. I NEVER STOPPED GRINDIN.... This is my stomping ground. DA U is where I learned the real definition of what it means to grind. If it's not broke then why try to fix it. My goal is always to make the next year better than the last. At 31 I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. That's when u know you are doing something right. Lets go get it!! 2014 Here I come. My work here is complete and official. Many people see the outcome but they never see the work behind the closed doors. #theU #killedmyself #truetestament #boysinblue”

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Antrel Rolle ranked among NFL's best safeties, but how high?

When Antrel Rolle was inexplicably left off the original Pro Bowl roster last year, he was disappointed. Rolle thought he was better than most of the players selected ahead of him last season, particularly Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu.'s Bucky Brooks agrees. He put together a list of the 10 most dynamic safeties in the NFL today and Rolle came in third. Rolle also came in at No. 72 on the NFL's Top 100 list of players earlier this year.

Seattle's Earl Thomas and Kansas City's Eric Berry finished 1-2 in the safety rankings. Polamalu, 33, didn't make the list.

Brooks was clearly impressed by Rolle's 2013 season when he finished with career highs in tackles (98), sacks (2.0), passes defended (12) and interceptions (6). Brooks called it his "best professional campaign," and it eventually earn him a spot as a Pro Bowl replacement for Thomas, who was playing in the Super Bowl.

Here's the full explanation:

3) Antrel Rolle, New York Giants: The cagey veteran remains one of the top playmakers in the game despite entering his 10th season in the league. In fact, Rolle is fresh off his best professional campaign. As a former cornerback, he's comfortable manning up against tight ends and receivers in the slot, but he's also adept at patrolling the deep middle. His versatility allows defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to use him in a variety of roles in the Giants' sub-packages to keep quarterbacks guessing in the pocket. Rolle is a proven playmaker with a knack for picking off passes (23 career interceptions, including six in 2013) and creating disruption on the second level. He's an ideal Swiss army knife to counter the versatile offenses setting the pace in today's NFL.

It's interesting to note that Rolle even ranked one spot ahead of Jairus Byrd, who signed with the Saints this offseason for six years and $56 million. Rolle, 31, is on the last year of his contract.

Of course, Rolle won't get that kind of money. He turns 32 in December. But if he plays at anywhere near the level he did last season he'll command a pretty lucrative short-term deal, especially if he hits the open market.

That's just what happens when you're playing like one of the top safeties in the league, and everyone is noticing.

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Antrel Rolle's Growth At Safety

Antrel Rolle was the Giants’ best defensive player in 2013. His position coach said he can still be better.

“Antrel is now starting to understand and develop as a safety,” coach Dave Merritt said on Thursday. “He was a corner as we all know, drafted out of Miami. Then all of a sudden he was a safety. He’s now starting to understand the position more than ever. Before, he didn’t see formations, he didn’t see the concepts. I’m saying when I first got him the first two or three years. And now the last two years, it’s all coming together for him and he’s feeling more comfortable.

“With Antrel’s ability to continue to learn and grow, he hasn’t, in my opinion, scratched his ability as a safety yet. Last year was a glimpse of what Antrel can actually become. Just imagine if he had started that maybe eight years before at the position.”

The problem, of course, if that Rolle is 31 years old and the clock is ticking on his career. He also has just one more season left with the Giants.

“I asked Antrel the other day, how many years do you want to play?” Merritt said. “He said ‘Coach, however long you want me to play.’ I said ‘Antrel, to be honest with you, I think you can play another four years.”

Rolle will be helped this year not only by his growth at the position, but by the Giants’ new depth at cornerback. With a strong rotation of players at the position, and the return of fellow safety Stevie Brown, Rolle will be able to focus on doing his job and not everyone else’s.

“The first couple of years we played him at nickel, we played him as bison, we played him at corner, we played him at safety,” Merritt said. “Now he’s able to just play strictly safety and it’s coming together for him.”

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Antrel Rolle picks Redskins to finish ahead of the Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles are favored to win the NFC East in 2014. The Redskins have the worst odds to win the division. But Giants safety Antrel Rolle — in a kind of unusual move nowadays — offered his full divisional prediction to ESPN, and he had the Redskins finishing ahead of the Eagles. (Rolle had the Giants finishing first and the Cowboys finishing last.)

“I think if you have the right defensive scheme against the Eagles, you can definitely shut them down,” he said. “I think we displayed that in the second game we played them. As far as Washington, I think Washington has more weapons, and I think they added more weapons, especially to the offensive system. I think RGIII will definitely bounce back and have a better season this year. And defensively, I think they’ve added a lot of veteran leadership to their defense that’s gonna help them out a whole lot.”

Rolle also praised Washington for bringing in DeSean Jackson.

“I think that’s a huge move for them,” he said. “I think he’s definitely gonna help the Redskins out a lot. DeSean Jackson is a phenomenal player in this league, and I think he has a chip on his shoulder. I think he has something to prove. So I wish DeSean the best of luck to go out there and do what he does best, which is to make big plays. But against the Giants it’s going to be a different story.”

Rolle becomes at least the second NFC East safety to pick the Redskins ahead of the Eagles. Ryan Clark, of course, had Washington going 16-0.

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Antrel Rolle likes the chemistry of the new-look Giants

The Giants brought in a lot of new faces this offseason, particularly in the secondary. Usually it takes some time for pieces to meld together in such situations, but Antrel Rolle said the Giants’ chemistry is so good right now it actually tops what he has experienced in previous years when there was far less roster turnover.

“I think this group and this unit that we have here is definitely a closer unit than we’ve had in the past,” Rolle said. “Everyone had their own thing going on but when you find guys that want to hang out with other players, it doesn’t matter what it is, just to get another guy off the field, get to know his mind, what triggers his mind. So far it’s been good for us.”

Rolle said that can only help on the field, especially in terms of communication. He pointed to the relationship he has with Jon Beason and Stevie Brown, saying that he can just share a look with those players and they will know what he’s thinking.

The key, of course, is getting the other new players up to speed on that non-verbal language. And it begins at this time of the year.

“Whether it’s going to watch the basketball game or picking up a game of basketball or even playing cards or shooting pool, I think the guys have collectively been in tune with one another,” Rolle said. “We’ve been hanging out a lot, we’ve been doing a lot of down time just relaxing, chilling, getting to know each other off the field. The new guys that have joined the Giants team this year, they’ve been embracing it and they’ve been having a ball with it.”

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RSP Nutrition Presents NFL All Pros Jon Beason and Antrel Rolle

NEW YORK — Award winning sports nutrition company, RSP Nutrition, and Natural Body Inc. of Ozone Park, NY, are bringing All-Pro NFL stars Jon Beason and Antrel Rolle on location for a meet and greet with fans.

Jon Beason and Antrel Rolle will be meeting fans on May 31, 2014 starting at 1pm at Natural Body Inc., located at 107-06 Crossbay Blvd, Ozone Park, NY, 11417. RSP Nutrition representatives will also be in attendance providing samples, and information about their products. There will be event day specials on all RSP Nutrition Products. There is no charge to attend this event.

Another fellow Miami Hurricane football player and graduate, Francesco Zampogna, RSP Nutrition’s Director of Business Development and former University of Miami student athlete says, “We are excited to be partnering with Natural Body Inc. to bring some of our best athletes out to such a great event that inspires health and fitness in the community.”

RSP Nutrition is happy to partner with Natural Body Inc. in order to bring Beason and Rolle to meet their fans. Thanks to the quality of their products and increased brand awareness, RSP Nutrition has vaulted to the forefront of the sports nutrition world over the past year. It is because of this support, that RSP Nutrition is pleased to bring this event to Natural Body Inc.

For more information about the event, please visit the Facebook event page at, or call Natural Body Inc. at 718-848-8144.

About RSP Nutrition
RSP Nutrition, based out of Miami Beach, FL, is one of the fastest growing companies in the sports nutrition industry. RSP Nutrition’s mission is to manufacture premium quality, safe and effective nutritional supplements designed for athletes, fitness enthusiasts and everyday people seeking to live healthier, more active lifestyles. It is their commitment to this mission that has established RSP Nutrition on the cutting edge of the sports nutrition field, and garnered acclaim from industry giants such as For more information on RSP Nutrition, visit, or call at 877-814-2544.

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Antrel Rolle Ranked In The Top 100

Giants' safety Antrel Rolle made the NFL Top 100 Players list, checking in at No. 72. Rolle is the only proCane on the list thus far.

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Antrel Rolle played major role in DRC signing

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Four weeks ago, at the New York Giants' first player availability of the offseason, Walter Thurmond boasted that the team's secondary could be better than the Seahawks' Legion of Boom, and Antrel Rolle said Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie could be the best cornerback in the NFL.

There were no such proclamations this Tuesday, during the team's second availability of the spring. But Rodgers-Cromartie did talk to reporters, and sounds bullish about the Giants' defense come this fall.

"It can be real good," he said. "Not even from just a secondary standpoint -- I look at going through these drills with the linebackers, they definitely understand the coverages and how to drop. So I think that'll be helpful, when your linebackers and secondary are of one accord."

Rodgers-Cromartie signed a five-year, $39 million contract ($15 million guaranteed) with the Giants back in March, after also meeting with the New York Jets, and said Tuesday that his decision was not an easy one.

"It was very difficult," he said. "You visit both teams, and both teams seem really, really interested in you. But at the end of the day, I felt comfortable coming over here just with the things that were being said and that were going to be done -- I just felt that would better help me as a football player."

It sounds like Rolle's influence was key. The two were teammates with the Arizona Cardinals in 2008 and 2009.

"He just hit me up and said a couple things that hit home," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "He was like, 'I think you can be this and that in our system, and the coaches and everybody else will help you get to it, just buy into it.'"

A former first-round pick back in 2008, with 19 interceptions in six seasons, Rodgers-Cromartie is now on his fourth NFL team -- and he's hoping to stay awhile this time around. He said he's been sitting next to Rolle in team meetings, to speed his learning of the new terminology.

He also admits hearing what Rolle said about him last month, and appreciates the compliment, but will let his play do the talking.

"Whenever you've got somebody that believes in you, you want to go out there and just go that much harder," Rodgers-Cromartie said, "kind of not be a letdown and hold up your end of the bargain."

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Antrel Rolle: Giants defense won't need to be simplified again

It is a common narrative surrounding the Giants defense.

Every two years or so, Perry Fewell's scheme undergoes a simplification process that seems to re-energize the defense and cut down on the communication issues.

That, of course, is after there are issues.

But with a new, reloaded secondary this offseason, Antrel Rolle said he doesn't see that being necessary anymore.

"The way you keep it from getting complicated is everyone buying into the program at the same time," Rolle said earlier this week at the United Way Gridiron Gala in Manhattan. "And sell that. Whatever the scheme is. That way, Perry doesn't have to mix and gamble and do so many different things to overcompensate for one unit and so forth and so on.

"But so far, so good. Everyone is buying into the system. We're learning, we're all learning at the same speed so it will be great."

A free agency overhaul helped pique the energy level in camp this offseason. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Quintin Demps and Walter Thurmond were all brought in to strengthen a unit that had a good run under Fewell last year.

Instead of working their way up, though, a process solidified with the arrival of Jon Beason last year, Rolle hopes the Giants can avoid the pitfalls they saw a year ago during their six-game losing streak.

"Our energy level as opposed to the last couple years," Rolle said. "We're definitely on a pedestal right now. We're talking about energy level and more importantly how guys seem to be buying in and paying closer attention to detail.

"Film study, on-field, the competitiveness we have among each other is already insane. It's already a good thing."

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Antrel Rolle challenges Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to be the best

The Giants paid Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie like one of best cornerbacks in the NFL. Now Antrel Rolle wants to see him play like it.

The Giants' veteran safety, who played alongside Rodgers-Cromartie when the two were with the Cardinals, issued a challenge to the cornerback to live up to his potential - something that hasn't always happened during Rodgers-Cromartie's meandering NFL career.

"I still don't feel like [Rodgers-Cromartie] has shown what he can truly be in this league, which is one of the best corners in the NFL," said Rolle, who was in Manhattan Friday morning along with teammates Henry Hynoski and Spencer Paysinger to promote the Promax protein bar nutrition system.

Rolle was teammates with Rodgers-Cromartie in Arizona in 2008-09 before Rolle joined the Giants as a free agent in 2010. He saw plenty that he liked about Rodgers-Cromartie, but also saw what was lacking - which may be a reason the cornerback is playing for his fourth NFL team at age 28.

"I've played the corner position. I've been around several corners, and I know the talents and athleticism he brings to the game." Rolle said. "He's freakish. You put that together, along with the knowledge of the game, understanding where your team is going to be, when to gamble here and there, when not to. I think he has the best safeties around, with Stevie Brown, myself, Will Hill and Quintin Demps. Now he needs to show how good he can be."

Rolle hopes Rodgers-Cromartie quickly gets up to speed with the defense, partly because Rolle doesn't know how much longer he'll be in a Giants' uniform. He's entering the final year of his contract, and knows the team may go in a different direction in 2015.

"I do think about it," Rolle said. "This is a business and this is the last year of my contract. Whether or not I come back or not is really not up to me. The only thing I can do is go out there and play the best possible ball I can possibly play and try to continue to be the same guy I've always been, for myself, for my teammates, for the organization. We'll see how the season unfolds. I just want to play ball. Play reckless, make plays when the opportunity presents itself."

Rolle hopes his play will be good enough for the Giants to keep him beyond this season.

"Absolutely, I want to finish my career with the Giants," he said. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I've been with other organizations, and there is a difference. I think it will definitely be good to end my career here."

Rolle, Hynoski and Paysinger all agree the Giants' flurry of free-agent moves, coupled with their drafting of LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the first round Thursday night, put them in excellent position to rebound from last year's 7-9 season.

"Without a doubt, the sky's the limit for this group," Rolle said. "We have a lot of great playmakers on paper. That means nothing unless we put it all together on the field. So far, so good. It all starts with the chemistry on the team. For the guys coming in from different organizations, they've pretty much accepted the challenges we've put on them, which is to come in and contribute right away. Those guys are all eager, we've embraced them and so far the chemistry has been great."

Hynoski, who is healthy after recovering from a shoulder injury last season, believes Beckham will be a major factor in the offense.

"I think we got a great pick in Beckham," Hynoski said. "I think he's going to be a tremendous asset, be very explosive in our offense. We have a high-powered passing attack, so if you key on him, you're going to open up the running lanes, too."

All three players agreed the Giants had a successful off-season in filling several needs through free agency, adding players such as running back Rashad Jennings, linebacker Jameel McClain, defensive end Robert Ayers and wide receiver Mario Manningham, who came back to the Giants after playing for San Francisco. They believe it's good enough to put them back in contention in the NFC East.

"Since my first year with the Giants, we've made the most explosive moves in free agency that I've been able to witness," Rolle said. "Right now, we're trying to change the atmosphere in the locker room a little bit, have guys who are a little different here, guys who want to go out there and play and compete, no matter how the game is going. I think upstairs [in the front office], they're doing an excellent job with that, with the guys that have been here, teaching them the Giants' way, maintain that attitude, that swagger that we need to be a dominant unit. So far, so good. I think the chemistry is awesome. This is the first time I've seen it this upbeat so early. I'm extremely excited about this year."

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Frank Gore, Antrel Rolle, Devin Hester, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Vince Wilfork named to CBS Sports' Under-25 vs. Over-30 teams

This year's prolonged stretch between the end of the 2013 season and the 2014 NFL Draft has left media outlets with a little more room to get creative with ideas in trying to fill the time until actual football happens again.

One of the main strategies in this endeavor is to put out a series of NFL All-Something teams. In an original wrinkle, CBS Sports took this a step further by having two of their football writers come up with an All-Under-25 team and an All-Over-30 team and then comparing them side-by-side with the goal of seeing who could come up with the better roster.

For the matchup, CBS Sports enlisted columnist Pete Prisco to come up with an Under-25 team to go up against columnist Pat Kirwan's Over-30 team.
As expected, both writers think their team is superior. Regardless, proCanes were represented on the Over-30 team with six. Zero proCanes made the under-25 team which speaks to the State of The Hurricanes teams the last few years.

Here's where they landed:
Over-30 Team, Pat Kirwan

Running back: The claim is never let a 30 year old in your backfield. Well, think again. My top choices are Frank Gore, DeAngelo Williams, Fred Jackson and Darren Sproles. I'll start Frank Gore but have Sproles ready for third down.

Wide receiver: I found 10 receivers I would like on the ol' boys team; Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, Anquan Boldin, Roddy White, Wes Welker and Steve Smith. I can't have them all but I'll take Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall with Welker in the slot.
Starters: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (30) and Brandon Marshall, Bears (30)
Reserves: Wes Welker (32), Andre Johnson (32), Vincent Jackson (31)

Defensive tackles: Good luck running the ball against Haloti Ngata and Vince Wilfork with 700 lbs. of beef inside. When they need a rest or its time to rush the passer I have to decide between Kyle Williams, Justin Tuck and Darnell Dockett. Those three had 26 sacks between them last year.
Starters: Haloti Ngata, Ravens (30) and Vince Wilfork, Patriots (32)

Safeties: Guys who play safety for 10 years may lose a step but they can read a quarterbackand get him to do things a young safety hasn't even though of yet. My starters for the clash of the young and old will be Troy Polamalu and Antrel Rolle. If I want to go "big nickel" and bring an extra safety, Dashon Goldson and LaRon Landry are available.
Starters: Antrel Rolle, Giants (31) and Troy Polamalu, Steelers (32)

Special teams: Stephen Gostkowski just turned 30 and he was five for six on 50+ attempts but I could always call up Vinateri or any number of the kickers. Jon Ryan, punter for the Seahawks, only allowed 21 returns for a total of 82 yards the whole season and 28 punts inside the 20. Devin Hester can handle the returns with his 13 for touchdowns over his career.
Starters: Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (30), Jon Ryan, Seahawks (32), Devin Hester, Falcons (31)

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Antrel Rolle: It's my defense now!

On Tuesday, Antrel Rolle downplayed the significance of being the only returning captain on the Giants' defense. With Justin Tuck gone and Jon Beason entering his first full season with the team, it is clear that Rolle will assume a much larger leadership role with the team this season. He just didn’t see it that way.

“I just go out there and play ball,” he said when he spoke with reporters on Tuesday. “I just know how to be Antrel. I don’t worry about wearing several different kind of hats. I just go out there and play ball. If I need to say something it’s going to be said, if I need to do something it’s going to be done. I just go out there and play ball. I think there should be 53 leaders in this locker room, not four or five or six. There’s going to be 53. Every man leads in their own way.”

Apparently, though, sleeping on the idea changed Rolle’s perspective. Because when he appeared on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio on Wednesday morning, he was (probably rightly) claiming the defense as his own and noting that he has a “huge sense of responsibility” for the unit.

“The way I look at the locker room, you know, these are my babies,” Rolle said in the radio interview. “These are my guys, these are my teammates, these are my brothers, these are the guys that I must protect at every given second that I’m there, that I’m with them on the field (and) off the field.”

“As far as it being my locker room or my defense,” he added, “yeah, I feel like I do hold a certain kind of title.”

One thing Rolle didn’t change his tune on from Tuesday to Wednesday was his appreciation of the changes that the Giants made this offseason. He reiterated in the radio interview his pleasure with the additions.

“I love what they’ve done,” he said on Tuesday. “They made some great moves, explosive moves, guys who can come in and contribute right away and help the team win.”

There is a chance that this will be Rolle’s final year with the Giants. It’s certainly the last year on his contract and while the 31-year-old safety said he thinks he can play several more years the Giants may have other ideas when it comes to negotiating. Rolle need only look to the last “owner” of the Giants defense, Justin Tuck, to see how quickly a player can go from king to the free agency market.

“If this happens to be my last year with the Giants, it will be my best season, so I’m gonna go out with a bang,” Rolle said on Wednesday. “But hopefully it’s not.”

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Antrel Rolle not worried about contract

Hester racked up a league-leading 1,698 combined return yards this season.

Working strictly as a return specialist this season, Hester appeared to regain his fastball, so to speak. His 14.2 average on punt returns would have ranked third in the NFL had he received enough opportunities to qualify, as punters wisely chose to kick away from him often. Hester was less easy to avoid on kickoffs, finishing with an average of 27.7 yards on 52 returns, good for the second-best mark of his career. The 31-year-old is set to become a free agent in the offseason, but with few players capable of replacing Hester's impact on special teams, look for the Bears to submit a competitive offer to retain his services.

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Full Pro Day Results

Eighteen UM seniors auditioned, plus former Canes players Aldarius Johnson, Davon Johnson, Vaughn Telemaque and Dyron Dye (who was tossed off the UM team last season because of his connection to the NCAA investigation, landed at Bethune Cookman and then received permission to work out Thursday).
Ray-Ray Armstrong, now with the St. Louis Rams, attended Thursday to offer emotional support for Dye, his former teammate at UM and Sanford Seminole High.

Richard Gordon, Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle and Micanor Regis were among other former Canes observing.  

ProDay 2014 Results

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Antrel Rolle Praises Tom Coughlin & Jon Beason

Not that it was unexpected, but New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle is thrilled with the recent addition of his friend and former Arizona Cardinals teammate, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He believes that DRC brings an entirely new element to Big Blue's defense and even lauded him as one of the most athletic cornerbacks in the entire league.

"This is a huge signing for us. This guy is as good as it gets — he's the best athlete I've ever seen on the football field with respect to the corner position," Rolle said on ESPN Radio. "I think it was a phenomenal move by the Giants."

Rolle took that praise a step further when discussing linebacker Jon Beason, whom the Giants also recently re-signed. And as big as the addition of DRC is for the team, Rolle believes re-signing Beason was the best decision General Manager Jerry Reese has made since the new league year began last Tuesday.

"I think that may be the best signing that we've made thus far," Rolle said of re-signing Beason. "I think Jon Beason was definitely the voice we needed at MIKE linebacker. He came in not really fully understanding the defense [last year] and still played phenomenal and did exactly what we needed him to do. So, I can only imagine what it'll be like to get him in OTAs and training camp, and to start a season off the right way."

But, even with all of these additions and re-signings of key players, Rolle says Giants fans and his fellow teammates should temper their expectations. They need look no further than the Philadelphia Eagles' "Dream Team" from only a few years back as a reminder that winning the offseason doesn't necessarily equal success. And, ultimately, the only thing that matters is how they perform once the games start to count.

"Can people get excited? Absolutely," Rolle said about what the Giants have done in free agency thus far. "But it doesn't matter what I say, it doesn't matter who we sign. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is how we produce between those white lines. And I think everyone knows that."

Finally, Rolle said DRC asked him specifically about the kind of coach/person Tom Coughlin is. His answer was as blunt, truthful and full of praise as you'd expect.

"He's one of the best guys — people — you'll ever be around in your lifetime. Just a genuine guy," Rolle said. "He cares about what kind of man you want to be. What kind of Father figure. What kind of professional. That's hard to find in this league."

At the end of the day, these are the motivational and inspiring words of a true leader.

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Antrel Rolle Say Giants were Forced to Simplify Defense Because It was Too Complex for Some

The New York Giants struggled mightily on both offense and Special Teams throughout 2013, and although they didn't start strong, their defense ended the season being at least a dimly lit bright spot amidst complete darkness. But, safety Antrel Rolle says, it could have been much more dominant if not for defensive coordinator Perry Fewell being forced into simplification.

“There were sometimes during the year when Perry Fewell was restricted from running certain defenses that I know he would love to run,” Rolle said. “Certain defenses I know could have helped us out defensively at the beginning of the year. But it takes everyone. It’s a collective effort and if one guy is wrong we’re all wrong. For the early part of the year that’s something that we failed to do as a defensive unit."

But why they failed, Rolle hints, is not so much about lack of talent, but instead, a lack of understanding the complexities of Fewell's defense.

"You’re going to have guys who study and go way beyond the X’s and O’s and you’re going to have guys who go in there and just do what is taught to them during meeting times and when they study at the facility and what is taking place on the field. This gameicon1, you have to study this game and that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. You have to study the game with the guy beside you because that’s who you’re going to be playing with, that’s who you need to have the same chemistry with," he added.

Rolle failed to call out any specific teammate or teammates, but the message is a clear one: someone or a group of people weren't going above and beyond for the team. And while that may be a direct result of seemingly endless injuries, the Giants' lone Pro Bowler seems no less frustrated by it.

And, Rolle adds, if the players on the team aren't willing to do what's necessary, then it's time to find some others who will.

“We failed to do that, especially in the beginning of the season, so coach Perry Fewell had to simplify a lot of things for our defense this year,” said Rolle. “We’re looking for the guys who can step in, who can understand the defense, who can play the defense and can be very versatile because that’s the way we won when we won the Super Bowl in 2011.”

The captain has spoken.

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Antrel Rolle Cap Casuality?

Antrel Rolle, Giants: The Giants are in a stronger cap position for 2014 than the Cowboys, but they also likely have no interest in keeping Rolle’s $9.25 million hit on the books. A contract extension for the 31-year-old safety could solve that problem, but releasing him would free up $7.25 million — all of Rolle’s remaining deal save leftover bonus money.

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Antrel Rolle impressed by Seahawks' defense

NEW YORK – Antrel Rolle enjoyed watching Super Bowl XLVIII, and not because he was rooting for the Seattle Seahawks.

“I’m a fan of defense, it doesn’t matter which team it is,” Rolle said. “I’m just very, very happy for those guys. They deserve everything that they received.”

Seattle’s defense completely dominated Peyton Manning and the Broncos in a 43-8 steamrolling in the Super Bowl Sunday in MetLife Stadium. A safety and defensive captain who was the Giants’ lone Pro Bowler this season, Rolle is an admirer of the Seahawks’ defense. The unit led the NFL in six significant statistical categories, including total yards (273.6), passing yards (172.0) and points (14.4) allowed per game.

“People would ask me my prediction and it was kind of hard to say,” Rolle said. “You have Peyton and I’m a huge fan of Peyton. I have a lot of close friends on the Denver team, but I told them, ‘You know what, I’m a fan of defense.’ I study the game inside and out, I study each and every position from the defensive line all the way back and I also study offenses. So when I put two and two together, I didn’t know it was going to be as bad as it was, but I did know that Seattle would win the game based on the defense’s performance.”

Rolle made his comments at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan, where he was honored at the 34th annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner. He was clear that he would like the Giants’ defense to play at the lofty level attained by the Seahawks’ D.

“I think Seattle’s defense set some pretty big standards and left some pretty big shoes to fill for the 2014 season,” Rolle said. “Our expectations are always great. At the beginning of the year, they’re always great. We just wish for more consistency and just better play overall from the Giants because we can do it.

“Any defense would want to see itself play to that caliber. We’ve had games, absolutely, where we’ve played to that caliber before. They just put it all together for that one game, which is the game that happens to count. That’s what it’s all about. Nobody remembers who made it to the playoffs or who made it to the NFC championship. They remember one team – the Super Bowl champions.”

Two years ago today, the Giants defeated New England, 21-17, in Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLVI. Although the Giants finished 7-9 in 2013, Rolle is confident the team can rapidly reverse its fortunes. And he believes Seattle’s overpowering defense provided the blueprint for all challengers to emulate.

“That bar is set extremely high,” Rolle said. “I think they went out there and more importantly - I tell everybody throughout the week, even within the Giants - this game is won on attitude. I think they went out there and they set the tempo extremely early. You saw some fear in Denver’s offense from the front line all the way through. The defense created that, they created the mismatches and they took advantage of every opportunity.

“It was a defensive effort. I think they played extremely well as a unit. We all know what they can do, (safeties) Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, they accompany each other very well. I think it was the defensive front that really stole the show in my eyes. They never, ever let Peyton get into a rhythm, they were exceptional against the run, they created havoc in the passing game and the linebackers and secondary just capitalized on it. It was a great game plan. The defensive coordinator (Dan Quinn), he did an exceptional job with that unit and it showed.”

Rolle shared his thoughts on several other matters:

• On whether he thought the Seahawks could be Super Bowl champions when they Giants lost to them, 23-0, in MetLife on Dec. 15.

“I’m a defensive guy,” Rolle said. “I go against their offense and their offense is good, very talented. They didn’t have Percy Harvin and if Percy’s healthy, he’s going to be your X-factor. We all know what Percy Harvin can do. That’s the reason Seattle paid him the money, that’s the reason why he was the X-factor in the Super Bowl.

“The defense, I think, played phenomenal and it started up front. They never allowed Denver to get in a rhythm. You have to take your hat off to those guys.”

• Rolle watched the game with a group that included Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley, whose position coach from 2008-11 was Ben McAdoo, the Giants’ new offensive coordinator.

“(Finley) was telling me that McAdoo is a brain, that he’s going to keep defenses guessing,” Rolle said. “He’s very smart and I just said, ‘Yes.’ I feel like our offense is definitely going to excel in his system. Eli (Manning) is going to go and do everything he does best, which is lead our offense, and the defense will be there to also lead and pick up the pieces and make sure we create more turnovers and give them more opportunities to do their thing.”

• Rolle was asked how difficult it was to watch Seattle and Denver play the Super Bowl on the Giants’ home field (where both teams defeated the Giants in 2013).

“It wasn’t difficult at all,” Rolle said. “If you had asked me that question at the beginning of the season, you probably would have gotten a different answer. We had every opportunity, just like Seattle and Denver did. We didn’t capitalize on it. I’m professional enough to understand that and to take that. There’s nothing to be sour about, you just use that for extra motivation come next season.”

• Rolle originally was not selected to the Pro Bowl but was a late addition as a substitute for Earl Thomas, who couldn’t play once Seattle advanced to the Super Bowl. For the first time, the Pro Bowl did not have a team of NFC players facing one from the AFC. Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders selected the teams. Rolle had four tackles (three solo) for Team Rice, which won the game, 22-21.

“Pro Bowl was awesome,” Rolle said. “It didn’t take away the feeling of being snubbed, but it was awesome. At the same time it was an opportunity, I took advantage of the opportunity. My family and my friends, the game itself was quite interesting. I think I loved the un-conferenced situation 10 times better, because it gives you some sort of challenge in a way. You’re not sure who is going to be on your team. More than anything, you’re teaming up with a lot of the AFC guys and you’re developing that chemistry and that bond within three days max just to get ready for a game and to be on the same page at the same time. We were out there clicking. More importantly, we were out there thumping. I like that, I’m all for that.”

• Rolle was honored at the dinner with Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, Mets pitcher Dillon Gee, former major league pitchers turned broadcasters David Cone and Jim Kaat and former New York Knicks forward and basketball Hall of Famer Bernard King.

When approached, Rolle knew little about Munson, the Yankees captain who died on Aug. 2, 1979 when the plane he was piloting crashed at Akron-Canton Airport, where he was practicing takeoffs and landings on an off day. Munson was just 32. His widow, Diana, attended her 34th consecutive benefit for the AHRC NYC Foundation.

The Thurman Munson Awards Dinner has raised more than $12 million for programs that serve New York City children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Once I realized I was going to be presented this award, I went back and did my research on Mr. Thurman Munson himself,” Rolle said. “I got chills just reading about it. I realized for sure who this guy was and I was like, ‘OK, I’ve heard about this story once before.’ It’s an extreme honor, especially for Ms. Diana Munson to have this foundation and run it for 30-some odd years and what they’ve been able to accomplish through the charities for kids with cerebral palsy and autism. It’s just an extreme honor, just being honored with the guys who have been honored in the past. I think that speaks volumes for itself.”

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Antrel Rolle: Giants defense needs to spend more time studying

NEW YORK — Giants safety Antrel Rolle watched the Seahawks’ demolition of the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday and focused on Seattle’s defense. He was impressed with the Seahawks’ sheer domination of the Broncos’ offense; how they instilled fear into the most explosive offense in NFL history.

In order for the Giants defense to get to that unit’s level, he said, some players need to dedicate more time to studying defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's schemes.

“Just guys taking more initiative and more focus toward their craft, understanding our defense in and out,” Rolle said Tuesday in Manhattan, where he was honored at The 34th Annual Munson Awards for his charitable work. “There were some times throughout the year when Perry Fewell was restricted from running certain defenses that I know he loves to run — certain defenses that I know could’ve helped us.

“But it takes everyone. It’s a collective effort. If one guy’s wrong, we’re all wrong. So you need everyone on the same page at the same time.”

Rolle specified that most of his defense’s troubles were early on in the season and the Giants defense eventually performed better, but he indicated he believed some players did not put in the time working on learning the defense that he did. Rolle, 31, was the Giants’ most consistent defender, compiling 98 tackles and six interceptions on the way to his third Pro Bowl and second All-Pro selection.

“You’re going to have guys that study and go way above and beyond the X’s and O’s,” Rolle said. “And you’re going to have guys just go in there and do what is taught to them during the meeting times and during the film study at the facility or what’s taking place on the field. And we all know you have to study this game. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand.”

* * * *
Rolle said he watched the Super Bowl with Packers tight end Jermichael Finley and gave the free agent a recruiting pitch.

Finley, Rolle said, responded favorably and complimented new offense coordinator Ben McAdoo, who spent two seasons as the Packers’ quarterbacks coach.

"He said that he would love to be a part of the Giants,” Rolle said. “He was telling me Ben McAdoo is a brain, that he’s going to keep defenses guessing, and he’s very smart."

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Pro Bowler Antrel Rolle assigned to Team Rice

Conference pride will wait a week. The rosters for the new-look Pro Bowl are in.

In the first-ever draft of its kind, NFL greats Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders selected their respective teams for the 2014 Pro Bowl, choosing from the pool of all-stars. And Antrel Rolle, the Giants’ safety who was a late addition as a substitute, was assigned to Team Rice, filling out the position which includes San Francisco’s Eric Reid and Buffalo’s Jairus Byrd.

As Big Blue’s lone representative this year, Rolle will take the field at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu this Sunday, a week before the AFC and NFC champions duke it out in the Super Bowl. The game will be televised on NBC starting at 7 p.m. ET.

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Antrel Rolle named to Pro Bowl after all

New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle was annoyed when he wasn't selected to the Pro Bowl in the first place. He ranted on Twitter that night and spoke to reporters a short time later to explain that he believed his season was as good as that of any other safety in the league and that he'd wanted to go to represent a Giants defense that was proud of the way it had performed during a disappointing season for the team.

Well, Rolle ends up getting his wish. Since Seattle Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas is in the Super Bowl, and players whose teams are in the Super Bowl don't play in the Pro Bowl, Rolle has been named as Thomas' replacement and will go to Hawaii to play in the Pro Bowl this Sunday.

"It's never been about going to Hawaii," Rolle said in a statement released by the team Monday. "I've been to Hawaii before. I've enjoyed the festivities. I've enjoyed the honor of being a Pro Bowl safety, a Pro Bowl player. That was never what it was about. It was always about getting what I very well deserved and what I accomplished throughout the year and going out there and representing my team, the New York Giants."

It also probably doesn't hurt that Rolle's contract awards him a $100,000 bonus for being named to the Pro Bowl, which I assume he gets even though he's a late addition.

It's Rolle's third Pro Bowl. He went in 2009 as a member of the Arizona Cardinals and in 2010 as a member of the Giants. He'll be the only Giant at the Pro Bowl this year. The last time they didn't have more than one Pro Bowler was 2007.

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Antrel Rolle to receive Munson Award

Antrel Rolle will be honored at the 34th annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner on Feb. 4.

The Thurman Munson Awards are presented for success on the field of play and philanthropic works off the field. Others who will be honored this year include Yankee outfielder Brett Gardner, Mets pitcher Dillon Gee, former pitchers and baseball broadcasters Jim Kaat of MLB Network and David Cone of YES Network, and Knicks Hall of Fame forward Bernard King.

The awards and dinner pay homage to the late, great Yankees catcher and captain Thurman Munson. Diana Munson, Thurman’s widow, will attend her 34th consecutive benefit, having been involved since its inception. The Thurman Munson Awards Dinner has raised more than $12 million for programs that serve New York City children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

It’s a prestigious award, but sometimes an ominous one for Giants players.

Other Giants who have been so honored in recent years include David Tyree and Chris Canty. Neither, however, played another down for the Giants after their award. Tyree, who won the award in 2009, a year after his amazing catch in Super Bowl XLII, did not make the team the following spring. Canty was cut by the Giants the day after receiving the award last year. Both of those players were recovering from injuries, though.

For tickets and information on the Munson Awards Dinner call 212-249-6188 or email Tickets may be purchased on line at

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Antrel Rolle named second team All-Pro

Antrel Rolle felt he got "screwed" out of the Pro Bowl this year, but he did earn a different honor. He was named a second team "All Pro."

The Giants’ 31-year-old safety was one of six safeties named to the second team of the Associated Press All-Pro team, which is voted on by a panel of 50 members of the national media. Rolle had a terrific season with career highs in sacks (two) and interceptions (six) and was one of the best players on a Giants defense that finished ranked eighth in the league.

Rolle was furious last month when he wasn’t one of six safeties – three strong safeties – selected to the Pro Bowl, especially since he was third in the fan balloting at his position. He was a second alternate, but he was beaten out for a guaranteed trip to Hawaii by Kansas City’s Eric Berry, Seattle’s Kam Chancellor and Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu.

The All-Pro team didn’t make a distinction between free and strong safeties. The two first-team All-Pro safeties were Berry and Seattle’s Earl Thomas, who made the Pro Bowl as a free safety. Rolle was joined on the second team by Chancellor and two other Pro Bowlers – Buffalo’s Jarius Byrd and San Diego’s Eric Weddle, who both will go as free safeties. The other second-team All-Pro safeties were Cleveland’s T.J. Ward and New Enland’s Devin McCourty.

Polamalu did not make the All-Pro team.

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Antrel Rolle Named To All NFC East Team by ESPN

There are four New York Giants on this year's All-NFC East team, and it's no surprise that all four of them play defense. The Giants finished the year ranked eighth in the league in total defense and 28th in total offense. There was no offensive player on their team worthy of any consideration other than wide receiver Victor Cruz, and there's no way to argue that he should have cracked the division's top three ahead of DeSean Jackson, Dez Bryant or Pierre Garcon.

So the defensive players who made it were defensive end Justin Tuck, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins and safeties Will Hill and Antrel Rolle. Unlike past years, when I ran the NFC East blog and picked the team myself, this year's team was voted on by the four team reporters who cover the NFC East's teams -- myself, Todd Archer in Dallas, Phil Sheridan in Philadelphia and John Keim in Washington.

I approve of the choice of Tuck, who had a fine year and finished with 11 sacks thanks to the six he got in December against the Redskins. And I voted for Hill and Rolle as the division's starting safeties. Rolle gets (and attracts) the attention and played well, but I think Hill was the better player this year once he was back from his season-opening four-game suspension. The two of them function very well together in the Giants' system at safety, and that was a concern after they let go of Kenny Phillips -- finding a partner who could switch off with Rolle during the games and depending on the situations. Hill has done it and done it well.

Click here to see the rest of the players named.

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Antrel Rolle: Extension with Giants is “ultimate goal”

Giants safety Antrel Rolle was a bright spot in a dismal Giants season, finishing the year with 98 tackles and six interceptions.

That’s likely why Rolle balked at the notion that the team would want to talk to him about his contract before next season.

“I don’t think there is anything to talk about. I still have one year left on my deal,” Rolle said, via “I don’t think there is anything to talk about.”

Rolle has a $7 million salary for next season and a $9.25 million cap figure, with the latter number one that the Giants might want to see come down as they try to fill other holes on the team. Assuming they’re open to the idea of keeping Rolle beyond 2014, an extension would be the easiest way to make that happen.

Rolle called an extension that kept him with the Giants through the end of his career “the ultimate goal,” which would certainly contradict the idea that there’s nothing contractual to talk about with the team. Perhaps Rolle was thinking solely of a pay cut, which he certainly didn’t do anything to deserve on the field this season and would have little reason to accept because he’d find other employment pretty quickly if he parted ways with the Giants.

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Antrel Rolle's $7 million salary a problem? Not if you ask the Giants safety

Coming off perhaps the best season of his accomplished career, Giants safety Antrel Rolle was puzzled by a reporter's question about the team needing to talk with him about his $7 million salary and $9.25 million salary cap figure for next season.

Rolle, snubbed for the Pro Bowl last week despite a strong season, believes he's lived up to the terms of his contract with his play on the field. He finished with 98 tackles, 2.0 sacks, six interceptions, a forced and recovered fumble.

“I don’t think there is anything to talk about. I still have one year left on my deal,” Rolle said. “I don’t think there is anything to talk about.”

It doesn’t mean if the Giants came to the veteran safety he’d be standoffish. Rolle would talk with the organization and be willing to add years to his current deal, especially if it made finishing his career with the Giants a possibility.

“Whatever the Giants want to do – you know I’m a professional and I handle my business in a professional manner – if that’s what they want to do, I’ll be all for it,” Rolle said.

“I definitely want to retire a Giant. I just want to be here. I’m just worried about the 2014 season, being here and making a run [at the Super Bowl].”

Rolle, 31, says he has at least four more years left where he can play at an “elite” level. It’s hard to argue considering he showed no signs of slowing down this season.

In fact, Rolle played a bigger role with the Giants this year than in the past. His versatility was key in defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s defense, and his responsibilities in the locker room and huddle increased.

Rolle was a Giants captain for the first time in his four years with the team. He played an integral part in keeping the team together and resurrecting a defense that started the year poorly but finished a respectable eighth in total defense. Rolle was one of the players who put together an impromptu Week 6 meeting with Fewell that reversed the defense’s fortunes. Those are the actions of the kind of player the Giants would seemingly like to keep around for a long time.

“That’s definitely the ultimate goal, to get an extension and add more years to my deal, and be able to be a part of this organization throughout the rest of my seasons,” Rolle said. “I’m not a guy that wants to play 14 or 15 years. I’ve never been that kind of guy.

“I just like to play and be effective while I’m here in this league. I know I easily have four more years to play at an elite level.”

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Antrel Rolle on a "bittersweet" feeling

Safety Antrel Rolle reflects on the season and some of the decisions that will be made by the front office.

Q: What kind of feeling do you leave here with today?
A: Definitely a bittersweet feeling. Bitter because obviously our ultimate goal here is to play for the full season and let the wind take its course but and unfortunately we’re not able to fulfill that dream. At the same time I’m extremely proud of the way this team has bounced back and faced adversity. Even when people said we had nothing to play for, we had nothing to prove, we came out fighting. We came out fighting even harder and I think this team showed a lot of pride, a lot of fight and more importantly the love that we have for one another in this locker room throughout the remaining course of this season.

Q: Why did it go the way it did in your mind? Why did you not make the playoffs?
A: Obviously starting 0-6, that’s not a position that you want to be in and we made it extremely hard for ourselves at the beginning of the season. Winning seven out of the last 10 games is ideal for an organization and had we won a little bit more in the beginning, the situation would obviously be different at this time.

Q: Do you need big changes here?
A: To be honest with you, that’s not my call to make. I think obviously we’ve shown that we can win games and play to our potential with the later part of the season taking its place. We just weren’t in sync, we weren’t in sync those first six games, we couldn’t find a way to close out those victories and obviously it put us in a real tough situation.

Q: Would you be surprised if they did decide to make changes? Obviously you’re not the one making the decisions, but would it surprise you at all?
A: Changes happen every year with each and every team within this league. Changes are what’s to be expected at this point.

Q: I’m talking more about staff changes. Would that surprise you? You’ve had the same staff for the most part for a while here.
A: Like I said, that’s not my place to make any kind of decision or comments about coaching changes. I’m a defensive player and I speak only and entirely for the defense. Are there any changes that need to be made on that side? Absolutely not. I think we’ve shown that. Starting, at one point in time in the season, as the 28th ranked defense and to end the season at eight, I think that speaks volumes for us.

Q; You guys talk, obviously you wanted to be a top 10 or top five defense. Through it all, to finish eight, does it surprise you; what did that mean?
A: It doesn’t surprise us. We worked our butts off to get to that point, especially at one point in time being ranked the 28th defense within this league. We work together. Coaches, players, we all came together, we worked together and we made this happen. It wasn’t by luck, we just didn’t fall at number eight. We know we worked our butts off to get to that point.

Q: You talked about bittersweet, if you guys had another game to play do you think this defense could be a defense that could hold up throughout a playoff run?
A: Absolutely, that’s a no-brainer for us. I think we’ve shown that throughout the course of the season. Offense, people in this league, everyone gets paid. We’re all professionals, we’re all athletes, so the offense is going to make their plays. But as a defense, I felt like we did an exceptional job, especially through the latter part of the season. After that 0-6 start just going out there and playing and flying around and making plays and creating turnovers and giving our offense more opportunities to put the ball in the end zone.

Q: Any message to the fans?
A: I pretty much said what I needed to say. For the fans, we obviously thank them for sticking with us through the bad and the good times. Obviously the season didn’t go as planned for them but we’re definitely looking forward to 2014. I think we’ve found an identity here, I think we understand what areas need to be cleaned up and how to get it cleaned up and just move forward at this point. We’ll be back come in 2014.

Q: What’s the feeling like knowing that you have to clean out your locker entirely?
A: That’s never a good feeling. I think Jon Beason hated it more than anyone. He’s been talking about it for the last few days consistently. It’s not a good feeling, it’s not a good feeling at all. We play this game obviously for one reason, which is to win a Super Bowl and like I said, because of our play, we haven’t allowed ourselves to be in contention for that.

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Antrel Rolle rants on Twitter about Pro Bowl snub

Giants safety Antrel Rolle must have really been counting on the free trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

The NFL announced its Pro Bowl selections Friday night, and Rolle was voted a second alternate at strong safety. The always outspoken Rolle, who picked off six passes and forced a fumble this season, took to Twitter to vent his frustration at not being selected to the team outright.

“Tell me which safety has better numbers and made more game changing plays than me this year???? I’ll wait!!!!” Rolle wrote. “This probowl sh-- is a joke.”

No other Giant was named to the team or as an alternate. The other strong safeties that made it ahead of Rolle were Kansas City’s Eric Berry, Seattle’s Kam Chancellor and Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu.

“That’s why I play for myself, teammates, organization, family& fans,” Rolle wrote. “Nothing else matters. All this has done is added more fuel to my fire!”

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Antrel Rolle making run for Pro Bowl honors

Barring a late run on the ballot box, it appears that safety Antrel Rolle and possibly defensive end Justin Tuck are the only two Giants players who have a shot at earning Pro Bowl honors this season.

Thursday was the final day for voting. The Pro Bowl roster will be announced on Friday at 9 p.m. on the NFL Network. The game will be in Hawaii.

Rolle, who was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010, ranked third behind Kam Chancellor (Seattle) and Eric Berry (Kansas City) in the latest fan voting released last week.

Both Chancellor and Berry are deserving. Each is having a fine season and their teams are in the playoffs. Rolle, who has 90 tackles, two sacks and is tied for second in the NFL with a career-high six interceptions, is likely to make it. His chief competition is from the Bears’ Major Wright and the Steelers’ Troy Polamala, both of whom are having subpar seasons.

“It’s always a great accomplishment,” Rolle said on Thursday. “But more importantly, I think my main goal and focus has always been how we produce as a team. It doesn’t take anything away from the Pro Bowl or my own personal accolades, but at the same time, I would give my left arm to be playing in the postseason right now.”

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Antrel Rolle says this season has been an 'eye-opener' for everyone

Giants safety Antrel Rolle once again put everything in perspective during his weekly appearance Tuesday on WFAN radio.

Asked about the Giants’ stunning 5-9 mark this season, Rolle was blunt and on the mark.

“I think this is something that is an eye-opener,” he said. “It’s an eye-opener to everyone. To myself, to Eli (Manning), to coach (Tom) Coughlin, to management. Some things need to be shaken up. That’s the reality of it.

“This year, obviously, it’s too late. We still have two games to go and we’re going to fight like hell. Come next year, come this off-season, things need to be addressed as far as the overall mindset. I think that’s something that’s extremely needed right now in our locker room.”

Rolle, who said personnel decisions are out of his area of expertise, said the Giants have been very inconsistent this season and need to establish an identity, one of playing hard and being competitive every week, not just some weeks.

“It’s about trying to get the win at all costs,” he said.

Rolle voiced unwavering support for Coughlin and was adamant that there’s no division on the team in the aftermath of his stinging comments following the Giants’ 23-0 shellacking by the Seahawks.

Following the Giants’ humiliating loss, Rolle said some players lacked heart and had no pulse. His thinly-veiled comments were obvious directed at the offense.

“First and foremost, there was never any division coming out of the locker room,” Rolle said. "The media is the media. They have their way of putting a spin on things.

“As professionals, as teammates, we have a way of talking and getting points across without ever getting personal. That’s all it was. There was never anything personal. There was never any separation. We’re still as close as we ever were.”

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Rolle rips ‘pathetic’ Giants

Amid the losing in this sorry season it was a case of United We Stand for the Giants. But not any longer.

The “playing for pride’’ theme apparently did not make its way into the hearts and minds of those who get paid to play offense for the Giants, as the whole bunch of them — starting with ringleader Eli Manning, who threw a career-high five interceptions — was so dismal in Sunday’s 23-0 loss to the Seahawks that Tom Coughlin called the performance “pathetic.’’ Can there be a more harsh indictment?

Well, yes, and safety Antrel Rolle was the one to deliver the verbal forearm shiver to those on the other side of the ball.

“If you don’t have passion about this game you don’t need to be out there on the field,” Rolle said, adding, “Sometimes out there it looked like we didn’t have a pulse.’’

And yes, Rolle made it clear he wasn’t talking about his defensive unit.

“You all saw the game,’’ Rolle said. “I don’t have to say anything. This is not about pointing fingers, it’s not about tit for tat, but it is what it is. If you saw the same you know exactly what you saw.’’

Rolle never named names but apparently the criticism touched a nerve with tight end Brandon Myers, who took to Twitter a few hours after the game to write: “If ppl on this team wanna take shots at me and say I have no passion they are mistaken. I give everything I have each and every week.’’

Myers later tweeted, “My emotions got the best of me.”

It is going to be a long final two weeks for the Giants, who officially will have their first losing season since 2004.

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Antrel Rolle having best season yet with Giants?

Despite two Pro Bowl seasons and a consistently strong resume, Giants safety Antrel Rolle may individually be topping anything he's done in the past. Some might say (this guy included) that this is the veteran's best season to date.

Rolle, who turns 31 next week, isn't going to argue. He's especially proud of what he's been able to do on the field, in the huddle and in the locker room.

“This is definitely up there as one of my best seasons. I’m not just speaking of interceptions and sacks,” he said. “I think overall performances, as far as what I’ve been asked to do for this defense, how I’ve been able to … more so grab a hold of others, pretty much get a lot of us on the same page at the same time. This is definitely up there as my best or second-best season.”

Statistically, this is already Rolle’s most productive season. His two sacks are a career high. His five interceptions are tied for a career high. His 10 passes defended are tied for a career high. His 77 tackles have him on pace for another 90-plus season.

But what has really stood out to his teammates and coaches is what he means to the team. Rolle is an unquestioned leader. He demands the respect of his teammates, not only for his play, but for his attitude. He helped the team stay together despite an awful 0-6 start.
“Everything I think he thinks of and does is truly in the best interest of our team. As I like to say, when he was elected captain, he’s shown true ownership of this team,” said coach Tom Coughlin.

“He certainly has [grown into the leadership role] in terms of the recognition on the part of his teammates. That’s why I would say that is how he was elected captain [this year].”

Rolle came to the Giants in 2010 after a Pro Bowl season in Arizona. He earned the honor again his first season with the Giants. That year he finished with 100 tackles and one interception. Pro Football Focus rated him in the bottom half of their safety ratings each of his first three seasons in New York. He's 20th out of 87 safeties this season.

Most of the players in the locker room seem to think this has been his best season with the Giants. Coughlin isn’t going to argue with that assessment either.
“I like to think in a body of work it is. He certainly has some impressive numbers. He’s been there and he’s a tough guy," Coughlin said. “He refuses under any circumstance not to be in there. So I think I would say, yeah. In the time that he’s been here, this is a good season.”

Whether or not the rest of the NFL notices is another story. Right now, Rolle is third among strong safeties in the Pro Bowl voting. Chicago’s Major Wright and Troy Polamalu are right on his heels despite down seasons. The top three strong safeties get selected to the Pro Bowl.

It’s not something Rolle concerns himself with, even with the Giants in the midst of a down season and having already been eliminated from the playoffs. Rolle had no idea where he stood in the Pro Bowl voting until I informed him of the most recent results.

“As far as the Pro Bowl, it is what it is. I play for myself, I play for my team, I play for my organization,” Rolle said. “As long as they see my work, that really is the only thing that matters to me.”

It hasn’t been an easy season. Twice (vs. Philadelphia and Dallas) Rolle's been asked to serve as an emergency fill-in at slot cornerback. It's been well documented how it turned out against the Cowboys. It wasn't pretty.

But Rolle didn’t make excuses. He also didn’t boast about how he was successful the first time. The Eagles’ Jason Avant finished with three catches for 33 yards on seven targets in that contest, matched mostly against Rolle.

This is what the Giants have come to expect – reliability, accountability and productivity. Rolle has never missed a game since joining the Giants as a free agent in 2010. He’s never finished with less than 90 tackles. He hasn't complained about his recent ever-changing role or the increase in responsibilities.
And at 30 years old, he might have had his best season yet.

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Antrel Rolle: Can't blame coach

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' ninth loss ensured their first losing season since 2004, and may have opened some cracks in the locker room.

After praising the effort he got from his defense and special teams in Sunday's 23-0 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, coach Tom Coughlin called his offense's performance "pathetic" -- a point of view that appeared to be backed by some Giants players.

"Coach Coughlin can't take any of this blame. I won't allow it," safety Antrel Rolle said. "He can't coach heart. He can't make a player have passion about this game, and that's what we were lacking out there today."

It was then mentioned to Rolle that Coughlin praised the effort of the defense, and he concurred.

"I think the defense came out and played extremely hard," Rolle said.

He then was asked if he was pointing a finger at the offense.

"You all saw the game," Rolle said. "I don't have to say anything. This isn't about pointing fingers, but you saw the game. You know what you saw."
Tight end Brandon Myers was one Giants player who didn't appreciate having his heart questioned, tweeting after the game:

If ppl on this team wanna take shots at me an say I have no passion they are mistaken. I give everything I have each an every week

The Giants generated just 181 yards while being shut out for the second time this season. They had 25 rushing yards on 14 carries, and quarterback Eli Manning threw five interceptions to raise his league-leading total to 25 for the season. They didn't snap the ball in Seattle territory until there was 7:08 left in regulation.

New York was 1 for 10 on third downs, and only one play they ran all day gained 20 yards.

"We didn't block anybody, we didn't make any plays and we didn't create any opportunities for ourselves," Coughlin said. "We're not taking anything away from their defense now -- they're No. 1 in the league for a reason. But there's no excuse for what went on out there today."

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Will Giants safety Antrel Rolle be a cap casualty in 2014?

Aside from the long list of impending free agents, the Giants have other major decisions to make in the upcoming offseason. As they look to reshape their roster for next year, there are more than a handful of high-priced veterans who enter the equation.

The Giants will have to decide which players to release, which contracts to restructure for the future. Some choices will be easy; others will be more complex.
There is a lot more that goes into these decisions than on-field production. Salary, age, direction of the team, dead money if released prior to the 2014 season – these are all factors that enter the equation. Each player knows their own personal situation.

"I’m aware of my contract," tight end Brandon Myers said. "I know it’s void after this season. It was basically a one-year deal. I feel I’ve always had to prove myself. It hasn’t changed. You have to keep performing."

The feeling is these last three games could influence the decision. They matter for players' futures.

Here are the players the Giants will likely have to evaluate before deciding a course of action:

(Note: Numbers are for 2014. Dead money is for '15 and beyond.)

Antrel Rolle
Salary: $7.25M
Cap Figure: $9.25M
Remaining Years: 1
Accelerated Dead Money if Cut: $0
Breakdown: This has little to do with Rolle's play. It can be argued that he's in the midst of the best season of his career. The problem is that if the Giants decide to rebuild or overhaul their systems, a 31-year-old being paid as a Top 5 safety might not make sense, even though Rolle is a valuable leader on the field and in the locker room.

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Antrel Rolle Really, Really Doesn’t Care Who Wins The NFC East

NEW YORK (WFAN) – The Giants are officially eliminated from playoff contention.

And with three weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, it’s coming down to the Cowboys and the Eagles for the NFC East crown.

After Dallas (7-6) lost to Chicago on Monday night, Philadelphia leads the division by a game.

So which team does Giants safety Antrel Rolle think will win the division?

“To be honest with you, I don’t care,” the captain told WFAN co-hosts Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts during his weekly spot on Tuesday. “Whoever wins, wins. Whoever wins, they deserve to win. To me, to be honest with you, I don’t care who is the better of the two. I’m just worried about the Giants right now.”

The Giants put on an ugly display on Sunday, falling to the Chargers, 37-14, at Qualcomm Stadium. The G-Men were never in the game, as the Chargers led 24-0 at halftime and 31-7 after three quarters.

What went wrong?

“I think Sunday was a true testament of us going out there and being flat,” the two-time Pro Bowler said. “We all understand that in this league there’s no room for error. There’s no room for, even, do-overs. You gotta go out there, you gotta have a sense of urgency, you gotta have a sense of intensity. And that was something I think we were lacking in all three phases of the game.”

Rolle doesn’t want to hear that the team’s subpar effort had anything to do with having to fly out west.

“To be honest with you, you can say whatever you want to say,” Rolle told Joe & Evan. “I’m not a guy that really makes excuses, because we have traveled to the West Coast before (and won) …. You can’t say it’s because of travel, you can’t say it’s because of the schedule. I just feel like, as players, we all understand that nothing’s going to be given to us.”

The Giants will host the mighty Seahawks on Sunday before finishing their season against the Lions in Detroit and the Redskins at MetLife Stadium.

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Antrel Rolle has a point on RG III

I disagreed with Ahmad Brooks when he said Robert Griffin III didn’t look like he should be playing. That was silly. I don’t have a problem with what New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle said when it comes to how many hits Griffin is taking.

"I think that guy takes too many brutal hits. As far as whether he gets hit going out of bounds, whether he's causing himself to hit the ground extremely hard or whether he's just getting hit by opponents, he does take a lot of hits," Rolle said on SportsNet New York.

The main reason I don't have a problem with that statement? One question I heard from NFL people before the 2012 draft centered on Griffin’s durability. They knew his legs would be an important weapon; they also knew he was not a big guy like Andrew Luck or Cam Newton, and that it would be tough to withstand so many hits, regardless if he stood in the pocket or ran.

The Redskins can continue to run the zone read option as part of their offense (as the passing game develops, it should be a smaller part of the offense). And it should be noted that of the hard hits he took Sunday night, none came from the zone read runs (six hits on these runs, though three were shoves out of bounds). It should also be noted that a constant storyline the past two seasons in Indianapolis has been the hits taken by Luck. But he's not coming off a second torn ACL, so Griffin's health clearly is more under the microscope. But as others have said, some of the hits just look worse than they do for other quarterbacks. Still, it must comfort him to know how many players -- and media -- care about his health or whether he should be playing.

Thing is, Sunday night, Griffin did a better job early of avoiding hits by checking down passes or flipping to a receiver or running back instead of running himself (11 of the 16 hits, of various degrees, occurred in the first half). He started upfield on one run only to flip to running back Alfred Morris for a five-yard gain. Had Griffin continued, he might have gained the same yards, but he also would have been hit.

Later in the game, he ran a triple option and instead of cutting upfield he pitched to receiver Santana Moss, who weaved his way for 10 yards. There were other times Griffin had enough vision on his runs to bounce them outside rather than cut inside where extra yards were available, but, so too was danger in the form of a hard-charging defender.

Griffin remains a work in progress in the pocket, like most young quarterbacks. He knows he can make plays with his legs so there are times he'll hold the ball a little longer. But between that, protection breakdowns, receivers who don’t always win routes and Griffin sometimes hesitating when players are open, the hits add up. For him to have a long career in the NFL, he and the Redskins must continue finding a way to limit those hits.

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From ‘The U’ to Big Blue

Linebacker Jon Beason and safety Antrel Rolle have a lot in common.

Both are leaders on a resurgent Giant defense, which has climbed from the twenty third-ranked fantasy defense in Week 5 to No. 9 in Week 12. Both have appeared in multiple Pro Bowls, Beason three times and Rolle twice. And both are former first-round draft picks from the University of Miami.

The two were teammates from 2003-2004 and grew close sharing time on the Hurricane defense.

“Antrel might not even remember this,” Beason said. “Antrel hosted me on my visit to Miami. When I came into Miami I was actually an athlete, I was brought in as an athlete. Antrel was like my big brother at ‘The U’ for the first two years I was there. I was a safety and he was a DB. He was just one of those guys that reached out to me. I was No. 2 and he was No. 6 so our lockers were close.”

Rolle, an All-American who was regarded as one of the nation’s top defensive backs, was picked No. 8 overall by the Cardinals in the 2005 draft after Beason’s freshman season. But even after he left, the two remained close.

“Even throughout my college and pro career we’ve stayed tighter than most guys,” Beason said.

Beason, who had 95 tackles and four sacks as a Hurricane, joined the Miami first-round club when the Panthers selected him No. 25 overall in the 2007 draft.
Rolle was released by the Cardinals in 2010 and signed by the Giants shortly after. In 2011 he led the team in tackles (96) and guided it to its second Super Bowl victory in five seasons. Beason earned Pro Bowl honors in three of his six seasons as a Panther but on Oct. 4, he was dealt to New York for a seventh-round draft pick.

Rolle, of course, was one of the first to know.

“We talked earlier in the process,” Beason said, “he was one of the first guys that I wanted to talk to. I said, ‘I’m coming up there and hopefully we can get this thing right.’

“He was like, ‘Let’s do this.’ We played together for a long time at Miami and we know each other well. We train in the offseason and it just seemed like a perfect fit.”

When Beason arrived, the Giants stood at 0-4. The team dropped its next two games to Philadelphia and Chicago and fell to 0-6.

But midway through the Chicago game, things began to click. The team held Chicago’s offense out of the end zone in the second half and wouldn’t give up an offensive touchdown for the next nine quarters, leading the team on a four-game win streak.

“Beason, the guy has been phenomenal for this team,” Rolle said. He is something that we needed. He is a voice from the linebacker position, the middle linebacker position. We needed someone that was going to stand his ground, we needed someone who was going to get everyone lined up real snappy, no BS-ing around. Just his play-making ability, his passion for the game is tremendous and I think he’s just beginning now. It’s only the beginning.”

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Antrel Rolle promises different outcome for NY Giants this time against Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys were the better team on Opening Night, and Antrel Rolle knows they deserved to beat the Giants.

But on Sunday night at the Meadowlands, Rolle promised that "It's definitely going to be a different outcome."

That's the vow he made Monday night on SNY's Daily News Live, kicking off the hype to the Giants' rematch with the Cowboys. The Cowboys won the opener in Dallas 36-31 because of six Giants turnovers. But the Giants, who have won four straight games to salvage the 0-6 start to their season, are a much different team now.

And Rolle admitted, a little "payback" would be nice.

"Payback? Absolutely," Rolle said. "They played good football. You can't take anything away from them. They had six turnovers. That's an exceptional game a defense could have. They played great football. We just came up a little bit short. But I think this time around it's definitely going to be a different outcome.

"We're going to go out there and we'll fight," Rolle added. "We're fighting for dear life right now."

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Antrel Rolle recalls sleepless nights during team's 0-6 start

Antrel Rolle still remembers the dark days early in the season when the Giants staggered to an 0-6 start and what could go wrong did go wrong. Doubt was their constant companion. The team played scared and lacked swagger.

Three games and three victories later, the Giants (3-6) have revived a season that was on life support and proved what the power of positive thinking can do.

“It’s night and day,” Rolle said Tuesday afternoon on WFAN when asked about the confidence level in the Giants locker room these days. “It’s not like we lacked confidence before. But 0-6 can do a lot to you. It can really, really break your spirit if you let it.

“I know a couple of times it broke my spirit and I find myself extremely strong. I found myself many, many nights up at two, three o’clock in the morning asking myself what has gone wrong? I didn’t have an answer.

“But this team has stayed confident but more importantly, we stayed together and believed in ourselves. That’s where you see us winning the last three games.”

The brash and outspoken Rolle, who has led the charge on the field as well, has also learned to take a more measured approach to the season. Earlier, he said the Giants could win 12 games in a roll among other things. Those statements just made him look foolish.

Given the bait once again, he didn’t take it. Asked if the Giants can win the division, Rolle said, “One game at a time.”

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Antrel Rolle's misplay turns into a big play

One of the biggest plays of the Giants game on Sunday was actually a mistake by the defense. But it was one in which they were able to recover and keep the Raiders out of the end zone.

On second-and-3 from the Giants’ 6 in the third quarter, the Raiders were driving towards a touchdown that would have given them a two-possession lead. The Raiders started out with Terrelle Pryor under center with two backs behind him: fullback Marcel Reece and running back Rashad Jennings. The Giants were in a straight 4-3 look with Antrel Rolle at safety but pinching up because they were close to the goal line.

Reece went in motion to the Raiders’ right, which allowed linebacker Keith Rivers to step up to the line of scrimmage. Antrel Rolle was supposed to follow Reece across the formation to cover him, but he got stuck. Uh-oh.

“I put myself in a bad situation,” Rolle said. “It was a miscommunication on my part.”

Rolle was stuck in the middle of the field with his guy going wide. So what did he do? He called for Jacquian Williams, the other outside linebacker, to cover Reece. After initially stepping up to the line of scrimmage, he did. Middle linebacker Jon Beason then had to shift to his left to take Williams’ place. And Rolle, well, he became the middle linebacker.

"There was nothing else left for me to do but go out there and make the play,” Rolle said. “When all else fails, see ball and go get ball. That’s my mentality.”
That’s what happened. Beason filled in the right side of the Raiders offense (where Williams would have been) and Rolle came up to tackle Jennings.

“My job, my fill, was to put the ball back to ‘Trel who, on the motion, became the mike backer behind the shade,” Beason said. “He’s a big physical safety, he made the play, it was huge.”

It wasn’t a thunderous hit, but Rolle played it very well, sliding behind Jason Pierre-Paul, watching the ball, and wrapping Jennings up around the ankles until help could arrive to finally get him to the turf.

At the 1.

Just shy of a touchdown.

It gave the Raiders first-and-goal at the 1, but they eventually settled for a field goal and a 20-14 lead that the Giants were able to overcome.

“It’s not always going to be perfect,” Rolle said. “You’re not always going to be in the right place at the right time. You have to play beyond the Xs and Os, and we did a great job of adjusting today.”

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Despite flag, Antrel Rolle provides spark for NY Giants' defense

PHILADELPHIA — The minute Antrel Rolle did it, he knew it was a “bonehead" move, but it was too late to stop the flags from flying. So he did the only thing he could do.

He went straight to his coach and apologized before Tom Coughlin had a chance to yell.

He earned points from his coach for that, and no harm was done since the Giants won, but Rolle knew he made a bad mistake in the first quarter when he celebrated his interception of a Michael Vick pass with a little dance. When some of his teammates joined in, it cost the Giants 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

It’s a mistake Rolle vows he will never make again.

“Oh yeah, yeah, I felt horrible about that,” Rolle said after the Giants' 15-7 win over the Eagles. “I kind of got myself in a little mode. I intercepted (a pass) last week and did a little dance and I got away with one. I said, ‘Maybe they’ll let me get away with it again.’

“Definitely not a smart thing to do. Being a veteran player, being a captain of the team, it was definitely not a smart thing to do.”

What made it worse is that Rolle was on a roll in the first quarter. The interception of a pass intended for tight end Brent Celek was just the start. On the Eagles’ next drive, Rolle sacked Vick on the first play, which helped set the tone for the Giants’ defense. In all, Rolle was outstanding. He had five tackles, the sack — which came with a forced fumble that Vick recovered — and the interception.

His play has been a huge reason the defense hasn’t allowed a point over the last two weeks.

“Well, he’s been there as a solid factor all the way through,” Coughlin said. “It’s just obviously noticeable now with the last couple of weeks.”

The celebration penalty certainly was noticeable. “Yeah, he came right over and apologized to me,” Coughlin said. “You make a great play like that you've got the ball where you think you’ve got it and (then), ‘Ooops, wait a minute, it’s 15 yards back.’ … Territory we’ve already covered. We didn’t want to have to retake it.”

The Giants were forced to start that drive on their own 21 instead of the 36, but they ended up with three points anyway on the first of five Josh Brown field goals. But Rolle knows it could have been worse, which is why he went straight to Coughlin to say “I’m sorry.”

“Because I knew it was a bonehead move on my behalf,” Rolle said. “It was something that won’t happen again.”

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Antrel Rolle says he'll appeal any fine for hit to Jerome Simpson's head

In other Antrel Rolle news, the Giants safety said his hit on wide receiver Jerome Simpson last night was “absolutely not a penalty” and he will appeal any fines that the NFL levies against him for the play.

The play happened with a little less than two minutes left in the first half and Rolle came across the field and leveled Simpson. Flags flew.

“It absolutely was not a penalty,” Rolle said on WFAN. “Once I got home and I watched the game again last night, I saw that I hit him with my shoulder blade and he actually ducked into the hit because I was pretty high.”

That is true, but the league has been clear that the responsibility for avoiding contact with a defenseless players head lies solely on the hitting player no matter how much the player ducks, as Simpson clearly did. And while we commonly hear the phrase "helmet to hemlet contact" in terms of penalties - and there was none of that on this play - any contact with the head area of a receiver is flaggable. And usually fineable.

“I’m definitely going to appeal it, that goes without a doubt,” Rolle said of the virtually inevitable fine. “If I felt I was in the wrong I wouldn’t appeal it, but I know I wasn’t in the wrong. Whatever. Things like that don’t really bother me. I’ve been called for them before. I’ve won some, I’ve lost some, but it’s never going to stop my performance, it’s never going to slow me down as a player.”

In fact, Rolle said he’ll continue to play that way.

“I try to avoid any head-on collisions and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of doing that,” he said. “But throughout the course of the game, I’m playing a Cover-2 and those are just my reads … I’m trying to not allow him to catch the ball. If they have to call me for that 100 out of 100 times, they’re just going to have to call me for it 100 out of 100 times because I’m not going to allow the opponent to catch the ball under any means. I am trying to play smart and play within the rules.”

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Antrel Rolle says team's confidence is 'shot a little bit'

Giants safety Antrel Rolle admitted today that the team’s confidence has taken a hit at 0-6.

The Giants lost to the Chicago Bears, 27-21, on Thursday night to fall to 0-6 for the first time since 1976, when the team lost its first nine games.

“I thought we fought hard but obviously, we didn’t win the game,” Rolle said today on his weekly radio spot on WFAN. “No one is going to give you an A for effort in this league. The only thing that matters is the win-loss column and right now we don’t have anything in the win column.

“It’s very frustrating and mind-boggling. I feel like our confidence is shot a little bit. Being 0-6 will do that to you. We have to rise about it all. We have to be mentally strong. We have to be as mentally strong as we’ve been in our careers. I know I’ve never been 0-6 at any level.”

So far, the Giants have presented a united front.

“Absolutely, we’re together,” Rolle said. “We’re more together now than we’ve ever been. Losing can cause a lot of things but one thing I’m proud of with this group about is no one has ever pointed any fingers.

“We’ll never ever do that. At the end of the day, we win as a team and we lose as a team.”

Rolle said that the upbringing break is a good thing for the Giants. They don't play again until Oct. 21 on Monday night against Minnesota.

"I think it's a very much needed thing," Rolle said.

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Antrel Rolle calls out teammates

One day after saying that the winless New York Giants can go 12-0 for the rest of the season, Antrel Rolle said that some of his teammates don't share his confidence.

"Honestly speaking, I really don't believe that everyone believes that we can win within our locker room," Rolle said Tuesday during an appearance on WFAN radio in New York. "And it's hard. There's guys that haven't been there before, there's guys that haven't been affiliated with how the Giants make comebacks and how we can come back in the games, or how we can overcome adversity.

"So I really don't expect every guy to believe, to have the same belief that I have, or maybe the other people that have been around the organization have."

The Giants are 0-4 for the first time since 1987, and the first time in a non-strike season since 1979.

"We put some awful football out there," Rolle said. "We all understand that, but it's not too late for us to turn it around."

Rolle, one of the Giants' captains, asked head coach Tom Coughlin if he could address the team during their meeting Monday, one day after New York's 31-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Fellow captain Justin Tuck came to the defense of Coughlin following the loss to the Chiefs, telling the New York Daily News, "If anyone turns on our coach, I would be the first one to punch him in the mouth."

"I'll back up exactly what Justin Tuck is saying," Rolle said Tuesday. "Because it's not our coach under any means. It's not our coach -- we have an outstanding coach. We have an excellent coach. We have a coach that has a fire within his heart, we have a coach that's motivated, we have a coach that believes we can win.

"Coach is coach, the players play the game. It's not our head coach. And I'll be the first to say that, I'll be the second to say it, I'll be the third to say it. Coach Coughlin has nothing, nothing, nothing at all to do [with] what we have been displaying out there on Sundays."

The Giants, who have played three of their first four games on the road, host the division rival Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) on Sunday. With the first-place Dallas Cowboys at just 2-2 and facing the undefeated Denver Broncos this week, the Giants can get right back in the NFC East race with a victory.

Rolle issued a rallying cry to the fans on Tuesday as well.

"Just bring the enthusiasm, bring the excitement," Rolle said. "We want to hear that loud noise, we want to hear that roar like we heard when we were making our Super Bowl run.

"We need that same intensity from our fans. We know we haven't given em much to get excited for, to 'Rah rah rah' for, but just bring it and we promise we're gonna be there and we're gonna bring our best."

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Antrel Rolle: Giants can go 12-0, starting Sunday

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New York Giants have gone into survival mode after their worst start since the 1987 strike season.

The Super Bowl champions from two seasons ago are grasping at anything that offers them hope and a way of keeping this frustrating season alive after an 0-4 start.

Coach Tom Coughlin allowed safety and defensive co-captain Antrel Rolle to speak to the team Monday, 24 hours after a 31-7 loss to the Chiefs (4-0) in Kansas City. Rolle told them there is a bond here and he believed good things will happen in this mistake-marred season.

"I just told the guys, we have to believe that we can do it," Rolle said. "Once you train your mind, and really believe -- not just tell yourself you believe, but really actually believe it -- that's when a lot of things will come together. The mind is a powerful thing. It controls everything within your body."

The Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) on Sunday, while the Dallas Cowboys (2-2) are hosts to the Denver Broncos. If things go right, New York might be a game out in the NFC East next Monday.

"I believe we can go 12-0 from this point on, I truly believe that," Rolle said.

Coughlin applauded Rolle's message with the team facing its biggest early challenge in his 10-year tenure.

"He's not afraid of that circumstance," Coughlin said. "He's kind of put his arms around this team and asked the members of this team to accept and understand that as well, and to know that when you take the field as a unit, you really do feel as if you represent one another and have each other's back. You have to totally believe that you have the ability to succeed."

Deep belief, however, can't always overcome bad play and mistakes, and the Giants have had more than share in a winless September. The numbers are frightening through four games:

- They have been outscored 146-61, including 69-7 the last two weeks in losses to Carolina and Kansas City.

- Touted as the strength of the Giants, Eli Manning and the offense have been awful from the first play of the season, a screen pass DeMarcus Ware intercepted in Dallas.

- The Giants are averaging 25:31 in time of possession. The banged-up offensive line has allowed 14 sacks and the running game is averaging 58 yards. Even veteran place-kicker Josh Brown missed two field goals (33, 44) in the last two games when things were close.

- Making a play on third-down is the exception. The Giants are 11 of 48 on third down, roughly 23 percent. Victor Cruz is the only option, with 26 catches for 425 yards and four touchdowns.

Manning has thrown 10 interceptions and there have been six lost fumbles, which have led to 45 points by the opposition. Coupled with the Giants' seven takeaways, they are minus-9 in turnover margin.

"I think a win would be big for this locker room and the morale and just get that feeling again," Manning said. "We work hard. We work hard each week, and the reason you work hard is for that feeling after a game when you can celebrate and you can feel good about all the work you put in. And when you don't have anything to show for it, it gets frustrating."

Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, only the 1992 San Diego Chargers have started a season 0-4 and made the playoffs.
It's been rough," defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. "I am here every Monday. It's like you are almost listening to the same speeches. It's the same type of feeling and it's getting old."

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Angry Antrel Rolle rips team for lack of emotion and fight

The Giants desperately need someone or something to snap them out of their early-season slumber, one that has the media scurrying to the record books because of their futility.

Yesterday, safety Antrel Rolle tried to light a fire under his teammates when he blasted them for their lack of fight in a 38-0 smackdown by the Panthers and challenged himself to right the wayward ship.

Rolle, speaking on his weekly radio spot on WFAN, displayed passion and emotion in a sometimes disjointed and rambling interview. He said the team did nothing after getting punched in the mouth by the Panthers and is “still bleeding to this day.”

Later, wide receiver Victor Cruz, during an interview on ESPN New York, said the team was “flat” against the Panthers.

We know that the Giants roster is flawed but for it to be devoid of energy gives rise to whether complacency has set in on a veteran core that has won two Super Bowls in the past five seasons. Perhaps it’s just Father Time.

Perhaps the team simply overlooked the lightly-regarded Panthers as punter Steve Weatherford suggested in his weekly diary with The Star-Ledger.
Rolle, a team captained, said he had never felt as humiliated as he did after the Carolina game.

Fact is, the challenge is even more daunting on Sunday against the undefeated Chiefs. The Giants banged-up offensive line, which allowed seven sacks against the Panthers, is facing a Chiefs team that leads the league in sacks with 15.

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Antrel Rolle challenges the NY Giants to show 'more fight'

First, Antrel Rolle challenged his teammates to show "more fight" and "more dog". Then, he showed then how to snarl just a bit.

The Giants safety was at his defiant best during his weekly paid radio spot on WFAN on Tuesday, two days after watching his team suffer its worst loss in Coughlin Era history. The 38-0 blowout in Carolina gave him a feeling he "never" wants to feel again, he said, and he vowed that it will drive him to be more aggressive on the field and more fierce (if that's even possible) off of it.

"From this point on, I don't care what the situation may be, I don't care what the outcome is," an emotional Rolle said. "I don't care what the hell has to happen. If they want to kick me up from around here, from the New York Giants, then that's gonna be what has to happen. But I'm gonna play Antrel Rolle ball the way I know how to play Antrel Rolle ball, and I'm gonna lead the way I know how to lead.

Rolle added that he doesn't "give a damn what happens" with his future.

"That feeling that I felt last Sunday, I can never have that feeling again," he said. "I'm gonna do whatever it takes, anything it takes. And whatever the outcome is, it is what it is."

From sleeping pass rush to struggling offensive line to absent run game, it's seemed like a collapse on all levels for the Giants this September. But that's not what Rolle saw on Tuesday. He said there was "no way in hell" that the Giants should have been demolished by the same Panthers team that they'd beaten, 36-7, a year ago, and pointed out that the Panthers are hardly the Broncos or Patriots.

"Carolina came out there and they punched us in the mouth and we didn't do anything," he said. "We're still bleeding to this day."

The first-year captain said the Giants' issues go "deeper than X's and O's." On Monday, former Giants linebacking great Carl Banks had spent his own WFAN spot ripping into his old team for a lack of emotion and saying that players didn't seem willing to fight for each other.

Rolle said he agreed "200 percent" with Banks' blasts.

"Do we like each other in our locker room? I believe so," he said. "We like each other. WE're all friends with one another. But are we going out there and fighting for the guy beside us? Absolutely not. There is no way I can hide it, sugarcoat it, whatever you want to say.

"I think we need to do some serious soul-searching within the locker room and try to understand and try to form an identity of who we're gonna be, for one," he added. "Do we still love to play this game? That's No. 2. And third of all: Are we going to fight like hell to get out of the situation that we're in?"

Rolle fully expects that the team will indeed "fight like hell" over the course of the rest of the season. He said he has "more confidence" in the team than he did during the summer, even added that he "wouldn't mind" finishing the season 13-3.

"We've been hit in the mouth, and we got hit in the mouth extremely bad (Sunday)," he said. "Sometimes, good things come out of bad things. Hopefully, that's exactly what we need to wake our ass up and go play football."

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Antrel Rolle one of five NY Giants captains

Antrel Rolle was already the vocal leader of the Giants. Now, he’s an official team leader, too.

Rolle was one of the five 2013 team captains the Giants named on Thursday, joining Eli Manning, Justin Tuck, Zak DeOssie and Chris Snee. It’s the first time in Rolle’s nine-year NFL career that he’s been named a team captain.

“As a young kid, you always dream about certain things,” Rolle said. “You dream about playing in the NFL, you dream about making Pro Bowls, so forth and so on. And I think — well, I know — being named as a captain of the New York Football Giants is a huge accomplishment.

“It’s something I never even imagined would take place,” he added. “I’m definitely ecstatic for it. And I thank my teammates for even having that trust in me, that accountability to name me captain. I’m extremely honored.”

Rolle is the only member of the captaincy quintet who is not a lifelong Giant; he’s entering his fourth season with the team. But he’s been one of the Giants’ loudest voices over the past three seasons, and coach Tom Coughlin said the selection “says volumes about the young man, the transition that he’s made into the New York Giant culture and the way he feels about his team, and the franchise and his teammates.”

Not that Rolle plans to change anything this season.

“Just keep doing what you’ve been doing,” he said. “If they named me captain, particularly for what I’ve been doing, why change it?”
It’s not as if he could get much louder, anyway.

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Antrel Rolle guarantees he'll limit Cowboys' Jason Witten

Antrel Rolle practically guaranteed that Jason Witten will not be performing any more "miracles" on Sunday night.

The Cowboys tight end caught 18 passes -- an NFL record for a tight end in a single-game -- for a career-high 167 yards against the Giants last year. "He's done that one time since I've been here, had that miraculous game," Rolle said. "That's not going to happen again, I can assure that. He will not have 17, 18 catches a game. That's not going to happen again."

Tony Romo was asked if the Cowboys were able to exploit something scheme-wise in the Giants' defense that led to those record-setting numbers last year. "I don't really want to answer that question," he said after a pause. "It's a good question, though."

Witten has had some big games against the Giants. In 2009 he caught 14 passes for 156 yards (which was a year before Rolle signed with the Giants).

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Antrel Rolle Would “Absolutely” Want Kenny Phillips Back with New York Giants

Shortly after the Philadelphia Eagles released safety Kenny Phillips on Sunday, he was on the phone with his former New York Giants teammate, Antrel Rolle. And although he stresses that the decision is not his to make, Rolle said, emphatically, that he would "absolutely" want Phillips back with Big Blue.

"Would I like to see him? Absolutely. But it’s not my call, it’s not my call to make and you have to leave that up to personnel, the owners and GM," Rolle said on Monday. "They’ll do the right job, I’m more than confident they’ll make the right choice as far as who they want to bring in or what they want to do as far as our defensive personnel in its entirety."

It's no surprise that Rolle — who displays an incredible amount of respect for every current and former teammate — would want his friend back with the Giants. And given that they've recently lost Stevie Brown (knee) for the season, there's no denying that depth at the position is now not only a concern, but a need.

Still, the Giants allowed Phillips to walk largely due to chronic injuries — the same reason he currently finds himself without a team. And given his inability to practice most of the offseason, it would appear as if he's not yet ready to return to the field. And when asked if his friend is healthy, Rolle passed on the question, saying "I don't know."

General Manager Jerry Reese maintains that the team will always "investigate everything," but unless Phillips' medical records check out, a return to the Giants seems unlikely.

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Antrel Rolle says rehab is 'ahead of schedule'

Antrel Rolle was sprinting around the Giants practice field yesterday as if last Monday's fall and subsequent gloomy exit from the practice field on a training cart never happened.

Tom Coughlin never thought the injury would keep Rolle off the field for long. And it appears he was right.

Rolle says he should be back soon.

"I'm going to return to practice when I'm ready, whenever I can go out there and feel like I'm not favoring it," he said. "Right now, we're ahead of schedule and things are going good."

Rolle recently said that walking boots are "for wimps" but did not begrudge fellow teammate Victor Cruz for sporting one yesterday.  

Rolle hasn't needed one for quite some time, and needs nothing more than some supportive tape during his workouts.

"I want him to be in that boot, we gotta make sure we take care of Victor," Rolle said. "We all know what he means to this team. If he has to walk around in a boot for a month, so be it. Maybe I'll put one on too to show I'm with him."

Rolle admits he's not 100 percent at this point, but that he didn't expect to be running as soon as he was yesterday.

"To be honest, I didn't even expect myself to be out here running, doing drills, cutting, so forth and so on. I had a preview of that yesterday and it felt alright," he said. "I wouldn't say it felt 100 percent but it felt alright. I'm just going to keep grinding."

Rolle couldn't say whether or not he would play against the Jets on Saturday.

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Antrel Rolle Could Return to Practice This Week

With a plethora of negative injury-related news dominating the headlines for the New York Giants, positive updates on safety Antrel Rolle (ankle) and defensive end Damontre Moore (shoulder) have gone almost entirely overlooked. But during a media conference call on Monday, head coach Tom Coughlin suggested that both players are on the mend, with Rolle possibly returning to practice as early as this week.

“Yes, he is [getting closer],” Coughlin said during a Monday conference call. “The projection is yes [he can practice soon], maybe a little bit later in the week, but the projection is hopefully that we will have an opportunity to get Antrel on the practice field this week.”

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Antrel Rolle talks his ankle injury

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Antrel Rolle will do “whatever it takes” to play in opener

Safety Antrel Rolle said that there’s no timeframe right now for his return to the field from the sprained ankle he suffered in Monday’s practice when his feet got tangled up with tight end Bear Pascoe’s on a pass thrown Pascoe’s way.

The lack of such a schedule didn’t stop him from making a prediction for where he’ll be on September 8 when the Giants face the Cowboys. Rolle said he’ll be on the field.

“I am going to do whatever it takes to make sure that is not even a possibility,” Rolle said, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. “Treatment two times, three times, four times a day, whatever it takes, I am going to do it.”

Rolle described his injury as a “pretty good” sprain, although it is not the dreaded high ankle sprain that has bedeviled many players, including Rolle, over the years. With almost a month to go before the first week of the regular season, Rolle, who has not missed a game in the last three seasons, would seem to have a good chance of making good on his vow to be in the lineup for that game.

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Antrel Rolle has a sprained ankle

Giants safety Antrel Rolle sprained his ankle in today’s practice.

Rolle was carted off the field this morning, and a league source tells PFT that a sprained ankle is the diagnosis. There’s no word yet on how long Rolle will be out.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after practice that he hadn’t heard anything yet.

“The guy got up and left the field, that’s all I know,” Coughlin said. “Hopefully, it’ll be quick.”

Rolle and tight end Bear Pascoe got their feet tangled when they both went up to try to grab a high pass, and Rolle came down awkwardly on Pascoe’s foot.

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Giants' added depth gives Antrel Rolle free safety spot he wants

Antrel Rolle tries to say the right thing. When he's asked about the last two seasons that he's had to move down toward the line of scrimmage and play either a true nickel position or a strong safety role, he makes like a good soldier. "I'll play any position," he said.

But when it is pointed out that there is a stack of players standing between Rolle and that job this season -- almost an entire depth chart with Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas and Jayron Hosley all capable of handling the responsibility -- not to mention the Giants' apparent desire to move Stevie Brown down into the box more often, he can't help but smile.

"Oh my gosh," safeties coach Dave Merritt said. "Antrel talks about it all the time . . . Him being able to play the safety position for us now is a tremendous lift in his spirit."

Rolle has been at this point in the last few preseasons, figuring he'd be able to play deep in the secondary and be a ballhawk. But each year there have been injuries and circumstances that have prevented that from happening. This year, though, looks to be Rolle's chance to back up and react. He'll be free of those responsibilities. Free at free safety.

It was odd the way the Giants deployed their safeties last year anyway. Brown came in and established himself as a starter after Kenny Phillips was injured and wound up with eight interceptions while Rolle was banging heads at the line of scrimmage and covering shifty slot receivers. The two players came into the league expecting to be doing just the opposite, Rolle as a playmaker and Brown a big body who even played some true linebacker at Michigan.

The two never talked about the twist, but "we definitely recognized it," Rolle said.

What made it more difficult for Rolle was that he had to lose weight to cover the receivers in the slot, and that took away from his stoutness in the box. He wound up running two or more extra miles each night after practices and meetings to drop from 215 to 205. And he never had a chance to lose the weight during the offseason. "They'd always just throw me in the fire so I couldn't adjust ahead of time," he said. "It's a little bit of a midstream adjustment."

Now, though, the Giants seem to have two groups to take care of the jobs that Rolle performed. They'll have true corners at nickel. And they'll have Brown at strong safety.

Rolle may be overjoyed at the prospects, but Brown will have to be the one to adapt this year. No more glamorous interceptions if he's pulled down in run support. He'll be doing the grunt work. "Everything happens really fast," Brown said of his new spot in the Giants' defense. "You have to see guard pulls and block downs and fullbacks leaking out. You have to be really good with your eyes."

The Giants will rotate Brown and Rolle between the two positions throughout the season, so Rolle will have to do his share of the heavy lifting. But he likely won't be asked to play nickel anymore.

"It's had its ups and downs," he said, "but it's been a thrill."

Just not as much of a thrill as not doing it apparently is.

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Antrel Rolle understands the need to lead

Every offseason, Antrel Rolle takes a step back and reflects on the past season and what he has to do for the coming year.

This time, one thing became increasingly clear to the safety -- Rolle knows he has to be more of a leader than ever before for the New York Giants, who report to training camp Friday in East Rutherford, N.J.

Already considered one of the most respected veterans, Rolle realizes the Giants will be looking to him to help replace the leadership lost in the locker room, with Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Boley, Chris Canty, Chase Blackburn and Kenny Phillips all gone.

"I understand pretty much what it takes to be a leader a whole lot more this year, for whatever reason," Rolle, entering his fourth season with the Giants, said at the end of minicamp in June. "I think there are natural-born leaders. Some people try to adapt to it. I know I'm a natural-born leader."

It hasn't always been a smooth ride for the emotional safety, who early on often didn't see eye-to-eye with coach Tom Coughlin's old-school, conservative management style.

Always one to speak his mind, Rolle has griped about a variety of issues, from Coughlin's mandate that the team show up early to the stadium for a night game, to having to cover slot receivers as the nickelback.

Rolle speaks from the heart whenever he believes his words will help the team in the long run. When the Giants were on the brink of missing the playoffs in the 2011 season, Rolle challenged his teammates to practice and play hurt and show complete commitment. That coincided with the Giants' run to the Super Bowl.
Rolle matured during that second season under Coughlin. And like Michael Strahan before him, he went from resisting Coughlin to rallying around and ultimately loving his head coach.

Former team leaders such as Strahan and Antonio Pierce have pointed to Rolle as the one player who had to be the vocal, swagger-filled leader the Giants needed, with captains such as Eli Manning and Justin Tuck leading more by example.

Rolle, 30, has never shied from saying something if he believes it needs to be said, even though it might be controversial. He has the pulse of the team as well as anyone. And entering the 2013 season, Rolle knows his words and actions will have a major impact on the field and in the locker room.

"I think he is ready for it," Tuck said. "I think he has kind of primed himself the last two years to get more and more [vocal]. What's happening is 'Trel now is understanding the Giants' way, the Giants' system.

"He wasn't accustomed to that when he came in ... But now he is a lot smarter with some of the things he says in the media and some of the things he says in the locker room. He's going to be a huge part of our leadership qualities and success."

Rolle used to be frustrated about his week-to-week responsibilities in the game plan. Now, he openly accepts whatever defensive coordinator Perry Fewell needs from him, whether it be playing closer to the line of scrimmage or covering slot receivers -- two responsibilities that take Rolle away from doing what he truly loves, which is roaming the back as a free safety.

His interception numbers aren't what they used to be -- he has five picks in the past three seasons combined after having four in 2009, when he played for the Arizona Cardinals. But he had a team-leading 96 tackles in each of the past two seasons.

And he plays hurt. Rolle has not missed a game with the Giants, despite suffering two torn rotator cuffs. He also labored through a painful knee injury last season after he banged it on a sideline television camera in Week 3 at Carolina.

"My knee was jacked up for about six, seven weeks strong," he said. "At times it was very unstable, felt wobbly. ... I kept needing to get my knee drained throughout the week. It swelled up on me each and every week."

Rolle later added: "Whether I have two torn rotator cuffs, I am still out there not missing a beat. I think that counts for something in this locker room. Even if nothing is said, I know they [Giants players] are watching. Is he a guy that is going to quit? I am not going to be a guy to quit, no matter what the circumstances are."

During the past couple of seasons, Rolle has watched the departure of his two best friends on the team, Deon Grant and Phillips. It's now on Rolle to lead the safeties' unit. And he already has begun by spending as much time as he can in the offseason with fellow starter Stevie Brown to develop the kind of chemistry he had with Grant and Phillips.

Rolle is fully aware that nothing is guaranteed for him beyond this season. He is due $7 million next season, the final year of his contract, and the second-highest 2014 salary on the team behind Manning. If the Giants fail to go far this season, there will be more changes, and Rolle knows he could be a salary-cap casualty, just as what happened with Bradshaw, Canty and Boley.

"I understand the business of the game," Rolle said of seeing them go in a two-day span in February.

"I can't worry about next year," he added. "I am just worried about going out there and being the best safety I can throughout training camp and through the season."

This year, that also entails being the best leader he can be for the Giants. And Rolle understands that more than ever.

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Antrel Rolle Believes He Can Make Pro Bowl in 2013

New York Giants defensive back Antrel Rolle has been fortunate enough to be named to two Pro Bowls (2009, 2010) in his career. Even though it has been awhile since he was invited to Hawaii, Rolle believes he has what it takes to make it back to the Pro Bowl in 2013. At the very least, the 30-year-old is convinced he can play at the same level as other Pro Bowl candidates.

“Absolutely, there’s no doubt about it. There’s no doubt about it,” Rolle said, according to The Record. “Last year I just didn’t have the numbers as far as interceptions and things of that nature, but as far as just being a football player and going out there and playing the positions where I need to play, being that role player for my team and being successful at playing that position, I’d be an All-Pro.”

Rolle certainly dominated for the Giants last season in which he recorded a career-high 96 total tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Whether his overall numbers were worthy of a Pro Bowl nod, there is no question his performance allowed New York to have plenty of success in 2012.

In Rolle’s eyes, opposing offenses must constantly know where he is on the field or face the consequences of his superior talent.

“Teams notice it,” Rolle said, according to The Record. “I’m sure teams notice it. I’m sure offensive coordinators on other teams notice where Antrel’s going to be at every point in time because that’s just the way it is.”

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Antrel Rolle has sacrificed stats by switching positions when needed

Antrel Rolle considers himself to be a Pro Bowl player, but for the past two years the rest of the NFL did not. He says he is going to change that perception.

“Absolutely, there’s no doubt about it,’’ Rolle said recently.

There is no talk from Rolle about a return to form, a return to health or a return to the lineup. In his three years with the Giants, Rolle always has been there, starting all 52 games (counting the postseason) but his impact seemingly has ebbed and flowed with the rise and fall of the entire Giants defense. He is an every-down player, never coming off the field, but as the point-prevention operation sagged and clunked through a historically bad season last year, Rolle often appeared to blend into the badness.

Rolle never will evaluate his performance by such pedestrian standards.

“Last year I just didn’t have the numbers as far as interceptions and things of that nature,’’ Rolle said, “but as far as just being a football player and going out there and playing the position I need to play and being that role player for my team … I’ve been All-Pro. But that’s not what you get measured at within this league. Teams notice you. I’m sure the offensive coordinator on the other team knows where Antrel is going to be at any point in time.’’

It no longer is a dirty little secret within the Giants defense that Rolle rarely plays his natural position, which is free safety. It is not a sign of decline that Rolle has just five interceptions in his three seasons with the Giants after amassing 10 interceptions in his previous three years with the Cardinals. With the Giants too often a man down at cornerback, Rolle has been asked — actually told — that for the greater good of the defense, he must spend far too much time playing nickel cornerback, perhaps the most demanding spot in the entire secondary. Rolle can do it, but not at the heightened level he reaches when allowed to roam at deep safety.

“We always shoot for that each and every year. We always shoot for me to play the safety role and stay at the safety role but it’s never happened, unfortunately,’’ Rolle said. “At one point in time I would get frustrated. … It’s a part of growing up, a part of being professional and most important a part of just being a team player and doing whatever you have to do in order for this team to be successful.’’

Rolle, 30, came to grips with the hybrid role down the stretch of the 2011 season, a key factor in the defense coming together for the Super Bowl run. His hammering home the “All In’’ theme was an energizing force, and Rolle staying on the field despite two torn labrums in his shoulders strengthened his standing within the team hierarchy.

At first, Rolle, bristled at coach Tom Coughlin’s firm hold, but he has come full circle and now is one of Coughlin’s most trusted advocates.

“What’s helping ’Trel now is understanding the Giants’ way, the Giants’ system,’’ teammate Justin Tuck said. “He wasn’t accustomed to that when he came in. He was more accustomed to [University of] Miami, things of that nature. Now I think he’s a lot smarter with some of the things he says in the media and some of the things he says in the locker room, and I think he’s gonna be a huge part of our leadership and success of the football team.’’

The Giants need and expect greatness from Rolle, who is by far the highest-paid player on defense, set to make $7 million this season (Tuck is a distant second at $4.5 million) and another $7 million in 2014. Rolle will do what is asked of him but is hoping defensive coordinator Perry Fewell can find a capable third cornerback behind starters Corey Webster and Prince Amukamara — with second-year Jayron Hosley, veteran Aaron Ross (returning after one season in Jacksonville) and perhaps even Terrell Thomas coming back from another ACL surgery as viable options.

“Safety is easier than other positions I’ve been required to play,’’ Rolle said, smiling. “Yeah, the level of expectation for myself is going to be through the roof. I understand that once I’m asked to play certain roles maybe my interceptions won’t be as high. Honestly, at this point in time it really doesn’t matter to me. As long as I get the credit from myself, as long as I get the credit from my team, as long as the credit from my coaches, that’s all that really matters to me. I really don’t care what outsiders say.’’

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Antrel Rolle: Dallas Cowboys' problem not players

New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle never has been shy about speaking his mind. His latest targets are Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and owner/general manager Jerry Jones.

In an interview that aired Tuesday on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access," Rolle said he's "looking forward" to playing against a team that some analysts already are picking to win the NFC East this coming season.

"The Dallas Cowboys are a good team," Rolle said. "Maybe they're missing a couple pieces of the puzzle, but I don't think the pieces they're missing are actually the players."

Ouch. That's a not-so-subtle shot across the bow of the Cowboys' brass. Jones isn't one to hold back, either. It will be interesting to see a retort after last year's admission that he deserved to be fired as general manager.

Jones since has promised a "very uncomfortable" offseason in response to two uninspiring 8-8 campaigns under Garrett's watch. Now that offensive coordinator Bill Callahan is taking over play-calling duties, it will be easier for Jones to jettison Garrett in-season if the Cowboys get off to a slow start.

Rolle's comments directed at NFC East foes weren't all negative. Asked about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, Rolle replied: "I'm not so eager to see this guy. I'm gonna let him take his time, get his rehab. I want him 100 percent. He's a huge playmaker in this league."

The Giants might believe the Cowboys are something of a laughing stock, but it has become abundantly clear that they have the utmost respect for Griffin.

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Antrel Rolle on the Departure of Kenny Phillips: “It Hurts Me Everyday”

The New York Giants selected Kenny Phillips in the first-round of the 2008 NFL Draft after the departure of Gibril WIlson left the team with a void in the defensive backfield. It took Phillips over half of a season to emerge as a starter, but he eventually made the most of the Giants' investment in him, as his eight interceptions and 263 tackles over five seasons established him as one of the best over-the-top safeties in the NFL. In fact, it was Phillips who knocked down Tom Brady's final Hail Mary to the end zone in Super Bowl XLVII, sealing the Giants second Super Bowl victory in five seasons.

However, Phillips' time as a member of the Giants was marred by a series of serious knee injuries. In 2009, Phillips was diagnosed with patellofemoral arthritis in his left knee, a condition the forced him to receive microfracture knee surgery and miss the final 14 games of the season. Last year, Phillips sprained his MCL against the Philadelphia Eagles and was never able to return to form. After rejecting an offer from the Giants as an unrestricted free-agent this offseason, Phillips signed with the Eagles.

Giants safety Antrel Rolle says that while he's disappointed to see Phillips in another uniform, he respects his former teammates decision to seek a fresh start in a new city.

"It hurts me everyday," Rolle said. "It's a business, and we all understand that it's a business. I just want Kenny to go out and make the best of the opportunity and get a huge pay day. That's all I've ever wanted for him. That's all I've wanted for any of my teammates."

The Giants did make Phillips a "modest" offer to return in 2013, but Phillips elected to sign a one-year, $2 million contract with the Eagles. It was a deal that raised suspicions regarding Phillips desire to return to the Giants, as it's unlikely the team was not offering a contract of a similar wage. Phillips had previously expressed his disdain with how the Giants medical staff handled his knee injury last season, which could have played a role in his decision to leave in the offseason.

With the emergence os Stevie Brown, Will Hill and the acquisition of Ryan Mundy, the Giants will be able to use multiple safety sets once again this season. Additionally, the team drafted Richmond safety Cooper Taylor in the fifth-round, whose combination of size and speed will allow the Giants to develop and slowly integrate him into the defense. Taylor's arrival may not have an impact on the defense in 2013, but given Rolle's $7 million salary cap hit next season, it's possible Rolle follows in the foot steps of Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Michael Boley in being kicked to the curb in favor of cheaper talent.

"Whether or not I'm next [to get cut], that's not my call to make," Rolle said. "I'm here to wear a Giants uniform and whenever I put it on, I just try to give 120 percent when I'm on the field. I don't make the decisions."

Without Kenny Phillips on the roster, the Giants will look to Rolle to lead the group of young and inexperienced safeties and transform them into a strength of the defense. However, the better job Rolle does at helping the talent behind him on the depth chart improve, the greater his chances are of being asked to take a significant pay cut before next season, or possibly even released. As general manager Jerry Reese made abundantly clear with his moves this offseason, nearly every player on the roster is expandable, regardless of past contributions to the team.

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Antrel Rolle will likely be cut after 2013 draft

There is a high likelihood the New York Giants will cut Antrel Rolle after the 2013 draft if they can find a replacement in the draft. Now before the backlash comes in about how dumb a move that would be; you have to look at the facts.

Rolle is carrying a 9,250,000 cap number for 2013 to 2014. He will be one of the highest paid safeties in the NFL that will hit 31 years old in December.

The Giants also have players that are younger that will get pay days soon. Hakeem Nicks’ contract is coming up and Victor Cruz is actively in contract extension talks now. Cruz and Nicks are not going to come cheap.

However the number one reason that is the reason it will come after the draft, is because the rookie salary cap makes it cheaper to draft similar in talent safeties for much less.

According to estimates, the 19th overall pick will hit the Giants’ salary cap by 1,517,436 in 2013.

Which would you rather have? A declining player in Rolle for a cap hit of 9,250,000 or a solid first round safety for 1,517,436 in 2013?

If the Giants drafted a second round safety in the 2013 draft, it would cost the Giants 732,855 against the cap in 2013. And the cap hit declines as the round decreases.

The first round, second round and even third round safeties in this year’s draft are some of the most talented crop of safeties to come out in a long-time. And you can read more about this year’s crop on this link here.

Now Antrel Rolle would only save the Giants 5,250,000 in salary cap space if he was released in 2013. However that is enough money to sign all rookies that have an estimated cap hit in 2013 of 5,031,061.

Releasing one player will give the Giants enough money sign eight players. You may believe Rolle is a great player, but by these standards the new CBA has put into place has Rolle extremely overpaid.

The only scenario I see in keeping Rolle on the team is if he restructures his contract to take less money, and I doubt any player would do that. Rolle will never see 9,250,000 dollars a year again, because of the new CBA rules. So it would be better for him to take the dead money and go to another team.

The time of the mega-dollar contracts for above average safeties is over. I believe the Giants will come to realization after they wrap up drafting a solid safety in the draft to replace Rolle with, and use the rest of the cap space to sign Cruz and Nicks down the line.

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Antrel Rolle might be asked to restructure

New York Giants FS Antrel Rolle is expected to return in 2013 as a starter, but the team might ask him to restructure his current deal. He is due to have a $7 million base salary in 2013.

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Football factory: The U's astounding presence in Super Bowl XLVII

NEW ORLEANS – Six-foot-eight-inch Bryant McKinnie, towering above everyone else in the Superdome, smiled and shared a joke about his old college team.

"We used to say if one of us didn't get to the Super Bowl," the former Miami Hurricane and current Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman said Tuesday, "we'd all take a pay cut and play for the Dolphins."

No need for that plan now. McKinnie and his Ravens teammate Ed Reed, another former 'Cane, will both play in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday. So will Frank Gore, for the San Francisco 49ers. They were all on the same 2001 Miami Hurricanes roster that many consider the best collection of college talent of all time. And they are all stars.

In a league where the average career lasts four years, these three former college teammates continue to dominate more than a decade later.

And they're hardly alone.

That '01 Hurricanes team, which went undefeated and routed Nebraska in the BCS Championship Game, produced NFL players at just about every position. That Miami roster produced 17 first-round draft picks and 38 players were drafted into the NFL. Andre Johnson was on that roster. So was Vince Wilfork. So was D.J. Williams. So was Jonathan Vilma. So was Antrelle Rolle. So were Willis McGahee and Clinton Portis, who were both ahead of Gore on the depth chart. So was Sean Taylor, who was Reed's backup and made the Pro Bowl twice before being tragically killed in a home invasion. And so was 2012 Pro Bowler Chris Myers, who didn't start at Miami but logged significant playing time as a backup because, in his matter-of-fact words, "We were blowing teams out by 40 points." (That team's average margin of victory was actually 32.9 points.)

"Every now and then you get to coach a great one," says Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Greg Schiano, who helped recruit that Miami team and coached Reed before leaving for Rutgers in 2000. "That team was littered with great ones. I don't know that there will ever be a team assembled with all that talent again."

The heft of the credit for the millennium Hurricanes' success goes to Butch Davis, the head coach who assembled all that talent in one place before bolting to the NFL. "Butch Davis was an incredible, incredible evaluator of talent," says then-assistant Curtis Johnson, who is now at Tulane. Davis' legacy is mixed because of a two-pronged NCAA investigation at North Carolina that resulted in his firing, but in 10 years as a college head coach, he recruited dozens of future NFL players and more than 30 first-round draft picks. Most came at Miami.

"We were looking for athletic, speed guys who loved football," explains Schiano. That was a directive from Davis, who got his start coaching multiple sports and always looked for players who could excel at basketball, track, wrestling, whatever. "When you coach a lot of different sports," Davis says, "you start to appreciate a lot of skills and how they work together." He would assemble his staff in a film room, look at high school games, and wait for preps to "jump off the screen."

The recruiting ground in South Florida was fertile, but a lot of the stars on that 2001 roster came from elsewhere. Reed arrived from Louisiana. McKinnie came from New Jersey. Jeremy Shockey grew up in Oklahoma. Davis didn't much care for five-star guys as much as he wanted those three ingredients: athleticism, speed and love of football. For every Andre Johnson, who probably could have played in the NFL as a college freshman, there was an undersized talent nobody else saw. "Roscoe Parrish was a midget," says Curtis Johnson. (For the record, Parrish is 5-9.)

The "loved football" part was perhaps most important. Gore was a great example, as he came to Miami despite having to wait behind Portis and McGahee. Asked at Super Bowl media day Tuesday why he didn't shy away from that, Gore said, "Competition. If you want to be the best, you have to play with the best. I wasn't scared of competition."

Gore carried a football around campus in those days, held high and tight, because he knew his day would come. "He could care less about anything but school and football," says Mike Rumph, one of those 17 first-round picks. "Most guys are chasing girls, thinking about stuff at home. Not him. First day out to practice, most guys have special sleeves or new shoes. He's out there with no gloves. Just a jersey, shorts, and helmet. He was like Mike Tyson."

There were several players on the team with that mentality. "We had tackling going on in walk-throughs," says Curtis Johnson, and that was on purpose. Davis wanted practices to be more difficult than games, even if it meant grueling workouts and ferocious drills.

"The toughest battle was Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday," says Schiano. "That's the thing I remember – the competition." Asked if it was as intense as the NFL, Schiano said: "In some ways even more so. At the U of Miami, we were trying to bring the program back. There was such a hunger there. That's one of the reasons they practiced so hard against each other."

Schiano remembers being disturbed in his office one spring by "a loud noise" and looking out the window to see a rowdy 7-on-7 game that included Michael Irvin, who had retired from football, and Sinorice Moss (Santana's younger brother), who was 15 at the time. Irvin, Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp had long since left campus, yet there was an unspoken expectation that the bar needed to be raised every single year. There's even a book written about the building and sustaining of the Miami program: Cane Mutiny.

"The level of work ethic was established," says Myers. "We wanted to keep that going. You wanted to prove to yourself you could keep doing what was done before."

Former players credit not only the strength coaches, but also the fact that the facilities weren't all that great. Today, major schools have professional-grade equipment. At that time, Miami had something resembling a boxing gym. That only seemed to motivate players more.

"It was the work ethic," Reed said Tuesday. "With the people we had, we tended to get the best guys."

It all culminated with a one-loss season in 2000, an undefeated season in 2001 and another one-loss season in 2002. But the 2001 team was especially dominant. The final score for that entire year, with point totals from all games added up, was Miami 512, Opponents 117.

"I really felt like we could have beaten the Cincinnati Bengals that year," says Rumph, who played five seasons in the NFL and now coaches at American Heritage High in Boca Raton. "It wouldn't be a blowout game!"

The most remarkable aspect of that team is only now coming into view. Nearly 12 years later, Gore is maybe the most dangerous player on the 49ers roster. The same could be said about Johnson in Houston, and Wilfork is a rare stalwart on a constantly rotating Patriots defense.

Yet when forced to pick a player or two from that '01 squad, two names come up: McKinnie and Reed.

Former 'Canes love to talk about the much-hyped matchup that season between "Mt. McKinnie" and defensive end Dwight Freeney, who starred at Syracuse and is building himself a Hall of Fame career with Indianapolis.

"Bryant is the best lazy player I've ever seen in my life," Rumph says. "He don't like to work out, his back is bothering him, that kind of thing. But even on his laziest day, he would not give up a sack. Dwight Freeney came to town, and Bryant literally rolled him down the field."

Miami beat No. 14 Syracuse that November day, 59-0.

While McKinnie is revered for his strength, Reed is awed for his smarts. The signature play from that championship season came when Miami struggled with Boston College into the fourth quarter and defensive lineman Matt Walters intercepted a pass deep in Miami territory. Reed raced up on his 270-pound teammate, ripped the ball out of his hands and ran 80 yards to the end zone. He was such a ball hawk that he forced his own teammate to fumble. "He had ball skills like an elite receiver and footwork like a top DB," Rumph says. "He was a coach on the field."

Davis, the architect of all this, admits he looks back at his Miami days wistfully. "In retrospect, obviously I would have loved to stay for eight, 10, 12, 15 years and maybe still be there," Davis says. "It was ridiculous how much success we had."

And it wasn't just on the field. Chuck Pagano was a secondary coach who left in 2000. Rob Chudzinski was an offensive coordinator. Schiano was defensive coordinator until the 2000 season. All three are now NFL head coaches.

In the college ranks, head coach Larry Coker is now the top guy at Texas San-Antonio. Mario Cristobal became a head coach at Florida International. Randy Shannon was in charge at Miami for a time. Curtis Johnson is now head coach at Tulane. Mark Stoops is head coach at Kentucky.

And Ken Dorsey, the quarterback on that unbeaten team, is now the quarterbacks coach for the Carolina Panthers.

Ironically, Davis has never reached that level of success again as a head coach. He struggled with the Cleveland Browns before leaving for North Carolina, which is now mired in scandal. Davis never won a national title as a head coach, but hopes to get one more shot. He's now an assistant with Schiano's Bucs.

Other lingering aspects of the Miami juggernaut are more subtle. Every time Myers gets ready to take the field for the Texans, he listens to the same song before he runs out into the din of the stadium: "In The Air Tonight," by Phil Collins. That was the song hand-picked by Davis to signal the entrance of the Hurricanes onto the field at the old Orange Bowl. He picked it to set a tempo and tone, but also to time a pregame stretch.

"The drum roll signified time to break down and go to the next phase of pregame," Davis says. "The tempo and mindset was now in place." Myers is not alone in his ritual. "Everybody still listens to that song before games," Myers says. "It brings me back to a little bit of Miami."

There is a little bit of Miami all over the NFL. In fact, there is a lot. And some of it will be on display in New Orleans on Sunday.

In fact, it's hard not to wonder how good those Hurricanes would have been if they could have experienced McKinnie's joke about playing together in the NFL: Gore, Portis and McGahee in the backfield, Johnson at wideout, Shockey at tight end, McKinnie blocking, Wilfork rushing, Williams at linebacker, Reed, Rolle and the late Taylor in the defensive backfield. And all those coaches.

Asked how good that team would have been in the NFL, Tulane's Johnson lets out a howling laugh before giving a one-word answer:


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Antrel Rolle surprised by playoff results

For Antrel Rolle, watching the NFL postseason has been a lot like playing in the regular season.

“What surprised me the most was that the teams that I expected to win, haven’t been winning,” Rolle said this week.

When he was playing, Rolle anticipated the Giants would be postseason participants and make a run at a second consecutive championship. But they lost key games down the stretch and their 9-7 record left them on the outside.

So Rolle, the safety who led the Giants with 108 tackles this season, has been reduced to a playoff spectator like the rest of his teammates, one year after they defeated New England in Super Bowl XLVI.

“Honestly speaking, it’s definitely harder to watch,” Rolle said during a visit to the Timex Performance Center this week. “Especially going through experiences like the journey we went on last year and being successful. That journey is definitely harder, but at the same time, I’m a realist and I understand that we’ve had several opportunities to be in that situation and put ourselves in that situation again, but we failed to do so. I’ve just been watching it as a spectator, just a normal individual watching the game.”

The Giants controlled their postseason destiny late in the season, but lost it with consecutive December losses in Atlanta and Baltimore. They routed Philadelphia, 42-7, in the season finale, but were eliminated when Chicago defeated Detroit moments later.

For the Giants it was – and is – a bitter pill, because they believed they could successfully defend their title and they were in a good position to reach the playoffs for most of the season. Rolle is one of many players who have reflected on the disappointing end to the season.

“I’ve definitely thought about it, thought about it a lot,” he said. “Have I come up with an answer? No. I just understand that there were certain times where we were able to get up and fight through whatever we needed to fight through to be successful and at certain times we weren’t able to, for whatever rhyme or reason. You can see it before the game. You can see it during the game. You can see it after the game. For whatever reason, as a team, we weren’t in-sync; we weren’t hungry enough for that particular moment. It showed.”

Rolle, a vocal locker room presence who this season won the George Young Good Guy Award for his cooperation with the media, took it personally when the Giants did not make the playoffs.

“I’m a part of this team. I feel like if one fails, we all fail,” Rolle said. “That’s just the way we look at it and the way I look at it. I think we need to find a common ground within everyone on this team. We need to find a common ground. I don’t think a team should look at one person or two people or three people, for example, to get motivated. I think every man should look at themselves and be able to look at any other player on the roster. It doesn’t matter who it is in order to look for that spark or that extra boost of energy or that focus level.”

Despite being left out, Rolle has closely watched the playoffs. He thought Denver or New England would prevail in the AFC and Atlanta in the NFC. But Super Bowl XLVI will pit San Francisco against Baltimore.

“It’s going to be an awesome Super Bowl,” Rolle said. “It’s going to be great. It’s going to be a great story line with both Harbaugh brothers coaching against each other in the Super Bowl. You have Ray Lewis retiring. You have San Francisco, which hasn’t been there for a number of years and was extremely close to getting there last year. It’s going to be a great battle. Both teams are going to be extremely hungry.

“There have been some exceptional games in the playoffs. I do see some fight and hunger in teams. I see a lot of similarities to the way that we fought last year and the way, for example, the Ravens have fought this year, or San Francisco fought this year. Even Seattle, the way they came back and fought and were able to make it out to the closing seconds with Atlanta. There have been some awesome games.”

Rolle expects to be playing in those high-stakes January games again next year. Although the Giants’ offseason conditioning program doesn’t start until April 15, he is already looking forward to begin preparing for the 2013 season.

“I know the caliber of this team and I understand what we have here on this team,” Rolle said. “This is a very special unit that we have here within the Giants. I’m eager to get back and do it all over again, and make sure we give it a better run.”

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Antrel Rolle credits Ravens' Lewis for helping him adjust to Giants, Coughlin

It is clearly evident what motivational impact Ray Lewis has had on the Ravens as they stormed to back-to-back road playoff victories to advance to Super Bowl XLVII. But did Lewis have a role in the development of Antrel Rolle into a leader who helped the Giants win the Super Bowl last season?

It’s hardly a far-fetched notion. Rolle arrived in 2010 and it took him time to acclimate to the way the Giants do business and especially how coach Tom Coughlin runs his team. There were angry and frustrated comments from Rolle and it appeared as if the two were headed toward a real confrontation. Rolle cooled off, though, and he says he might have overheated if not for Lewis’ advice.

Like Lewis, Rolle is a product of the University of Miami although Lewis was gone before Rolle ever played for the Hurricanes. Rolle did not know how to deal with Coughlin and one day he picked up the phone and dialed up Lewis.

“I asked him how should I handle the situation,’’ Rolle said Tuesday on WFAN. “I was like it’s extremely difficult for me, I’m not used to this and so forth and so on. We had an hour-long conversation just about life, he was telling me how I should approach the situation, how I should be able to deal with coach Coughlin but still get some things across. He helped me out a lot, I listened to what he said and it helped me out a lot.

“If you have never been around Ray Lewis, he’s probably the most humble individual and real individual you’re ever gonna be around. That’s just the reality of it.’’

Rolle spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Cardinals in Arizona and it took him time to adjust to Coughlin’s coaching methods. In week 2 in 2010, the Giants lost their first road game, 38-14 in Indianapolis as Peyton Manning bested younger brother Eli. It was Rolle’s first regular-season road trip with the Giants and afterward he blasted Coughlin’s schedule, insisting getting to the stadium more than three hours before kickoff made the Giants “sluggish.’’ Rolle later complained about Coughlin’s “controlled’’ environment’’ and said he felt the atmosphere around the team was “too uptight.’’

“I had an issue with me dealing with some things, more so my own personal issues,’’ Rolle recalled. “Coach Coughiln and myself have never had an exchange of words or anything close to it, never even had a bad eye towards one another. I’m sure he probably wanted to curse me out at times but it never crossed that line.’’

Rolle credits Lewis for helping him replace his frustration with a greater understanding of Coughlin’s methods.

“More than the [Miami] thing, I think it’s someone who has been through it all,’’ Rolle said of why he reached out to Lewis. “No matter what adversity or what Ray had to overcome I think he’s overcome it and I think that’s what it boiled down to.

"It boiled down to me going to someone I can consider a mentor, someone I know is going to give it to me straight as someone who is going to tell me something I need to hear as opposed to something I wanted to hear. And he told me exactly what I needed to hear and from that day on I never, ever had an issue, never had any concerns. I can honestly say it is great. This is the best I’ve ever felt and I am going to continue to stay on this path.’’

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Antrel Rolle Undisputed Giants Leader

Antrel Rolle: Rolle has emerged as one of the most important leaders on the team. The safety usually rings the alarm when the Giants need a wake-up call. When the Giants aren't showing enough fire or not enough "dog," the safety will let his teammates and the media know.

Rolle often spits out the hard truth when things are going bad and his criticism is often welcomed by teammates, who usually agree with what he has to say. On a team that often needs somebody to be vocal, hold nothing back and hold teammates accountable, Rolle might be the best to play that particular role.

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Frank Gore: A Special Freshman Back, and Then Came the Injuries

Antrel Rolle has been playing football against Frank Gore since they were youngsters near Miami. When they were in high school — Rolle at South Dade, Gore a bit north in Coral Gables — Rolle always heard that Gore, blessed with elusiveness, exceptional balance and uncanny field vision, might be the best running back ever to come out of those neighborhoods, which doubled as a recruiter’s dream.

Clinton Portis saw it for himself, when, while already a University of Miami running back, he went to Gables High School games to watch the youngster he now considers a protégé playing, he said, with no socks under his cleats, no gloves on his hands, shredding heavily favored opponents by running draws and dives out of four-wide receiver sets. Portis returned to the Hurricanes practices to tell his coaches, “This Frank Gore is special.”

Rolle, now a Giants safety, said this week: “You really don’t get a full grasp of what kind of runner he is until you go against him. I will say it to the day I die, going against him, I still feel he was the best running back to come through the University of Miami before his knee injuries.”

That is the legend of Frank Gore, one of the most talented players on, perhaps, Miami’s most talented team, who was never as good as he might have been in college. He had to overcome two significant injuries, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee just after he beat out Willis McGahee in spring practice before Gore’s sophomore season, then the one in his right knee the next season. Those injuries are why the San Francisco 49ers chose clips from Gore’s freshman season when they showed his college highlights before their playoff victory over Green Bay last weekend. That was when, with his knees still unscarred and while splitting time with McGahee and Portis as a true freshman, he averaged 9.1 yards per carry.

“At times, I look back and I say if I wouldn’t have been hurt, I would probably have been a top 5 or 10 player coming out,” Gore said in a telephone interview this week. “It didn’t go my way. I look at it as God wanted me to go a different route. Before I got injured, football was very easy, I didn’t have to work out. I guess he wanted me to work hard and appreciate the game that He blessed me with the talent to do. That’s one thing I focus on.”

Gore is now one of the N.F.L.’s best running backs, compiling his sixth 1,000-yard season in eight years. He is already San Francisco’s leading career rusher.

This season, as the 49ers have transitioned from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick at quarterback and advanced to Sunday’s N.F.C. championship game at Atlanta, Gore has been the same quiet, consistent force he has always been. He is not the fastest runner, nor the one with the Adonis physique, but he still reads blocks better than most, and, to Portis’s astonishment, can shake, with his movement and the angles he takes, defenders approaching from behind that he can’t even see.

Gore arrived at Miami in 2001, a stroke of luck the then-Miami coach Larry Coker acknowledges occurred because he was recruiting Gore’s best friend, Roscoe Parrish, just 10 days before signing day. Gore grew up in one of Miami’s poorest areas. His mother, Liz, was then seriously ill with kidney disease and on dialysis. Gore struggled for years with dyslexia.

But after his first team meeting at Miami, Gore went up to his position coach and told him he wanted to play. He was told he had to learn the 12 pass protections the Hurricanes used. He took the playbook home that night and at 3:30 a.m., less than five hours before practice, he called his coach at home, asking to be quizzed on the pass protections. He had learned them all.

More than 11 years later, the film still shows the special player Rolle and Portis and the others saw.

“They were saying, ‘Dang, you were fast,’ ” said Don Soldinger, the former Hurricanes running backs coach, who Gore called after San Francisco beat Green Bay last Saturday. “He was saying ‘I was the best one.’ He put me on the phone with Randy Moss and said, ‘Tell Randy Moss how good I was.’ ”

Soldinger had to talk Gore out of quitting after the second knee injury. The doctor who performed the operations, John Uribe, explained to Gore that he would be better than ever once he recovered, because his original ligament structure had not been strong enough for his knees.

Portis was already an N.F.L. rookie when Gore injured his knee the first time and remembered that Gore was devastated. He said, in each of their conversations, Gore would ask, “Bro, what do you think?” Portis always told him he could come back. Privately, though, he wondered, just like the coaches and the N.F.L. scouts, if Gore would ever be the same.

“I remember thinking, I hope he didn’t lose what he had, because he was so agile, you couldn’t get a hand on him,” Portis said. “I remember thinking, what do you tell him?”

It was Soldinger, one of the few guiding forces in Gore’s life then, who finally prevailed upon him.

“I was very frustrated,” Gore said. “He talked to me, my mom talked to me, he said keep following my rehab. I was frustrated. I felt like it wasn’t for me. He told me just keep pushing at it. He wanted me to get a chance to reach my childhood dream to have an N.F.L. career.”

That he has had one at all is why Coker uses Gore as an example to encourage his players at Texas-San Antonio when they get hurt. When Gore talked to Soldinger after the victory over Green Bay, Soldinger told him he had to make a big push now, to try to propel his team to a championship. Portis regrets that Gore’s mother, who died in 2007, did not live to enjoy what her son has become. She had encouraged him to leave Miami early to go to the N.F.L. after he played a full season following the knee injuries. Gore was certain by then that if he was healthy he could still be productive.

On Saturday, Portis watched San Francisco’s victory over Green Bay with Edgerrin James, another former Hurricanes running back, in Los Angeles and the two have plans to be in Atlanta on Sunday, three generations of Hurricanes running backs together. James wondered how much longer Gore would play and Portis guessed four or five more years, because he knows how to avoid taking a pounding to keep his body healthy. Portis wonders if Gore will finish with more yards than any of them — James rushed for 12,246 in his career, Portis for 9,923 and Gore, at age 29, has 8,839.

Portis reminisced this week about how eager a freshman Gore was, always sitting next to him on the way to games, always talking about football, always saying, “I can’t wait until my time comes.” On Sunday, Portis talked to Gore on the phone again.

“He was still excited,” Portis said. “ ‘Man, you saw that game? What do you think?’ I said, ‘Bro, you got it.’ ”

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Antrel Rolle apologizes for Giants falling short

Antrel Rolle is sorry.

That's the message the Giants safety had as he punctuated the 2012 season with his final weekly appearance on WFAN Wednesday. Rolle was asked for his parting thoughts on the season that ended Sunday with a 9-7 record but no playoff berth, and he took a repentant posture in answering the question.

"My final message would be . . . to apologize for a letdown," Rolle said. "We try to go out there and give it our all when we can. Unfortunately we came up a little bit short this year. It's something that pretty much caught all of us by surprise."

The mood of the 2012 Giants was so unpredictable that Rolle said he didn't even know whether the team would come out to play hard against the Eagles in the regular-season finale on Sunday. They wound up beating the Eagles, 42-7, after losing back-to-back games by a combined score of 67-14 against the Falcons and Ravens.

"To be honest, I really didn't know what to expect," Rolle said. "I was hoping for that kind of outcome, that kind of heart, that kind of sense of urgency going into our final game of the season. But to be honest with you, was I confident? No, I wasn't too confident because I didn't know what to expect.

"Inconsistent," Rolle added. "That sums up every angle you can look at."

Next year, though, Rolle doesn't plan on needing to apologize.

"Come the 2013 season all I can do is do my part, be as [good of a] player as I can be and try the best I can to make sure the team is on the same page and that, more important, that we're hunting," he said. "That we're going to hunt from the first preseason game all the way to the Super Bowl if God [willing] we make it there. Just try to be a better overall team on a more consistent basis week in and week out and we'll see where everything else takes us from there."

Notes & quotes: Safety Stevie Brown was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his interception against the Eagles. He's the first Giants safety and the team's first defensive back to win the award twice in the same season since cornerback Jason Sehorn in 1997 . . . Wide receiver Victor Cruz, on WFAN, said that negotiations on a long-term contract were "tabled" several weeks ago, but he expects them to resume now that the season is over. "You never know, it's all negotiations, but I feel positive that I'm going to be in New York for a very long time," he said. Cruz also said that he thinks the Redskins are the team to beat in the playoffs this year. In late November he said that he thought the Redskins were "a couple pieces away" from being playoff contenders.

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