New York Giants
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The NFL announced each team's preseason schedule without precise dates or times, except for national TV games and the final preseason week (Week 4) in which all games will be on Thursday, Aug. 28. Week 1 games are Aug. 7-10, Week 2 Aug. 14-18 and Week 3 Aug. 21-24.
The Giants will play Buffalo in the Hall of Fame Game Aug. 3, which will be played at 8 p.m. Eastern time on NBC. Then, they will be at home against Pittsburgh in Week 1 and New England in Week 4, while going on the road to play Indianapolis in Week 2. The annual preseason game against the Jets will be in Week 3 and will be a Jets home game.
Wide receiver Mario Manningham agreed to a one-year contract with the Giants.
Manningham, 27, is returning to New York after two injury-plagued seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He had just nine receptions for 85 yards in six games last season. Manningham was signed in 2012 to provide a deep threat in the 49ers' offense opposite Michael Crabtree.
When quarterback Alex Smith was displaced by Colin Kaepernick, Manningham did not seem to be on the same page with Kaepernick. In 2013, Kaepernick had a passer rating of 13.9 on attempts on which Manningham was the intended target.
"It was frustrating, but it was a learning experience also," Manningham said. "When I got back (from a knee injury), I couldn't do what I wanted to, I knew I needed a little bit more time. It's coming along and I just have to work on getting stronger and getting my strength back and trusting it more. I'm doing good; it's getting stronger."
Manningham played his first four seasons with the Giants.
"I'm happy to be back," Manningham said. "I'm real excited. It's just great to see everybody, be around familiar faces, knowing everybody in the past and just being comfortable around everybody.
"Once a Giant, always a Giant. That's how I feel. This is a very special place. I wanted to come back."
Manningham was a key part of the Giants' championship run following the 2011 season, catching touchdown passes in each of their three playoff victories and making a key fourth-quarter reception in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.
In his career, the 6-foot Manningham has 211 catches for 2,849 yards and 19 touchdowns in six seasons.
Meanwhile, the Giants officially announced the signing of former Denver Broncos return specialist Trindon Holliday.
Holliday, who last season scored on a 105-yard kickoff return and an 81-yard punt return against the Giants, became the latest player to move to MetLife Stadium. He will join safety Quintin Demps, one of Sunday's acquisitions, as players expected to give the Giants' returns a much-needed jolt.
Holliday is the second former member of the AFC champion Broncos to sign with the Giants in the last day, joining cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
"It's great to get an opportunity to come out and be part of another team," Holliday said. "I'm signed to do a job and that's come in and help this team out on special teams as best as possible. I'll be ready to report.
"The team's going in the right direction. The Giants are trying to get back to their winning ways. This offseason has had some good things and I look forward to the rest."
Holliday's most recent memory MetLife Stadium was unpleasant his Broncos were crushed by the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, 43-8.
"It's not a very good one at all, but I'm willing to change those things around this season," he said.
Although he is just 5-foot-5 and 170 pounds, Holliday's speed and elusiveness have made him one of the NFL's most dangerous return specialists.
"Sometimes, I think my size is an advantage," Holliday said. "I can field the kicks and hide behind those big linemen when the other guys are coming down. It's hard for them to see me."
However, he lost his return job because of fumbling issues last season, and he said about coming to the Giants and coach Tom Coughlin, "We had the discussions already. He said him and me were going to get real acquainted with ball security. I don't have a problem with that. I've have had some miscues of handling the ball, but it's not going to take much for me to fix that."
In 31 regular-season games over three seasons, he has returned 80 punts for 752 yards (9.4-yard average) and two touchdowns. His 81-yarder in Denver's victory over the Giants last Sept. 15 was the longest of his career.
Former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Giants. The Giants also strengthened both their secondary and return game when they signed free-agent safety Quintin Demps.
The 26-year-old Thurmond, who last month started Super Bowl XLVIII for the champion Seahawks, now has a chance to enjoy frequent success in MetLife Stadium.
Thurmond (5-foot-11, 190 pounds) comes to New Jersey after spending his first four NFL seasons with Seattle, which selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the 111th overall selection from Oregon.
"I wanted to meet other teams and see what was out there," Thurmond said in a statement. "Once I came here and met the coaching staff and heard the opportunities they presented to me, I couldn't resist. It was a testament to the coaching staff. I got along with everybody, Coach (Tom) Coughlin, the general manager (Jerry Reese), the DBs coaches just great people out here."
Thurmond played in 34 regular-season games with eight starts and made his only start in five postseason games in the Super Bowl. He was limited to six games in 2011 and two in 2012 because of injuries.
In 2013, Thurmond played in 12 regular-season games with three starts. He missed four games while serving a suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Thurmond returned for the regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams and played in all three postseason games.
Thurmond's career totals include 80 tackles (63 solo) and one interception, which he returned 29 yards for a touchdown last Nov. 17 in a victory over the Minnesota Vikings. In the postseason, he has nine tackles (five solo) and a pass defensed, including three tackles (one solo) in Seattle's 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.
"Only 19 teams have won a Super Bowl," Thurmond said. "To be a part of that group is a tremendous honor. The New York Giants have been able to do that four times in their history. When you do it once, you want to keep going back.
"I'm a competitor. I play the game to win championships. The Giants organization has a lot of prestige, a lot of history in that aspect of winning four Super Bowls. We want to bring another one here."
Now he joins a group of Giants cornerbacks that currently includes Prince Amukamara, Jayron Hosley and Trumaine McBride.
"I'm all about competition," Thurmond said. "I know they have a need here. I'm going to bring my work ethic and make the most of the opportunity they're going to give me."
The 5-foot-11, 208-pound Demps played in 2013 for the Kansas City Chiefs and has previous stops in Philadelphia (two seasons) and Houston (three).
Last season, Demps was third in the NFL with a 30.1-yard kickoff return average on 33 runbacks, including a 95-yard touchdown at Washington on Dec. 8. He also led the Chiefs with four interceptions.
In his career, Demps has a 27.5-yard average on 96 kickoff returns. As a rookie in 2008, he brought one back 100 yards for the Eagles at Baltimore.
Demps joins Antrel Rolle, Will Hill and Stevie Brown in the back of the Giants' defense.
Demps has played in 64 regular-season games with six starts, all last season for the Chiefs. He has also played in eight postseason games with two starts.
Demps' career totals include 93 tackles (73 solo), seven interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Demps entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft choice of the Eagles in 2008, the 117th overall selection.
Free-agent linebacker Jameel McClain signed a contract with the Giants March 14, the same day the team officially re-signed middle linebacker Jon Beason.
McClain, a seven-year veteran, was released by the Baltimore Ravens on Feb. 27 afer playing 87 regular-season games and starting 55.
"It was a mixture of surprise and disappointment," McClain said. "You learn with more time in this league that it's a business and sometimes they make business decisions that most people don't understand. It just was one of those things that was like, 'Dust yourself off and try again.'"
In six seasons the Ravens, McClain started 55 regular-season games and compiled 338 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries. He added 60 tackles on special teams.
The 28-year-old McClain is excited about joining the Giants.
"It's an opportunity," McClain said. "I believe in opportunity and I believe that everything happens for a reason. Now I get a chance to re-create myself. I get a chance to re-create my own identity without being placed with any label.
"No disrespect to anything that I've been through or anybody anywhere else, but when you get into this position you have to choose the best for your family, the best for your career, the best for your longevity."
In 2013, McClain started 10 games at weak-side linebacker after he was activated on Oct. 19. A spinal contusion in 2012 put him on the physically unable to perform list at the start of last season. He finished the year with 50 tackles and a forced fumble.
"I've got a chip on my shoulder the size of a golden nugget," McClain said. "I'm all the way there. Every time that I get a little itch, God always slaps me in the back of the head and says, 'Jameel, you've got a long way to go.' I signed a little deal and then after that I got hurt, that was God slapping me on the back on the head.
"Once I came back from that injury then I get cut, so that's God slapping me on the back of the head again, just saying, 'Your job is to be the underdog.' For the world to see that the underdog can make it possible, that's my destination, that's going to be my journey. I know it and I accept it."
The saga of wide receiver Hakeem Nicks finally ended March 14 when he agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Colts.
The previous weekend, the agents for Nicks reportedly circulated medical assurance memos from the fifth-year receivers' doctors, according to ESPN.
Those documents were said to contain statements validating that Nicks' prior foot and knee injuries are no longer of concern nor a factor in prohibiting him from displaying the speed and quickness he showed in 2011.
That report, filed by Chris Mortensen, also stated that Nicks was willing to weigh a one-year contract offer to prove to whoever signs him that his last two seasons, in which he combined for 1,588 yards on 109 catches and three touchdowns, were aberrations.
One day after that report was issued, a follow-up story from ESPN, this time from Josina Anderson, quoted Nicks as saying, "I just want to make it clear that I want a long-term deal."
Nicks also mentioned his desire to go to a team where he would be "the missing link," naming the Colts, Panthers and Chargers as possibilities.
Nicks, who according to a report by the NFL Network in January was said to have drawn numerous fines from the Giants for being late and for missing treatments, reportedly first drew the ire of the team when he decided to skip the voluntary OTAs last spring.
Nicks never gave a reason for his decision, but it was widely speculated that he was concerned about setting himself back health wise in his contract year.
Based on his play last season, he seemed to carry over those concerns into the regular season. There were times when he didn't look to have the speed or burst he showed in 2011, nor did he always seem to fight for balls the way he had in the past.
The Giants have restructured the contracts of guard Chris Snee and punter Steve Weatherford.
Snee, who was due a base salary of $6.75 million in 2014, the final year of his contract, reportedly accepted a cut down to $1.1 million. He can increase his overall earnings to $2.1 million if he reaches certain incentives.
By accepting a pay cut, Snee lowered his $11.3 million cap figure to $5.65 million.
Weatherford, who was due a $2.025 million base salary, reportedly had that total base slashed in half, according to a source. He will, however, have a chance to earn back some of the lost money via incentives. In addition, the remaining two years on his deal were not touched.