Injury to Thomas has Ross back as Giants starter

While New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross won’t admit there is

a chip on his shoulder, it’s there.

Ross came to training camp as the somewhat forgotten man among

the cornerbacks.

Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas were the returning starters and

general manager Jerry Reese didn’t hesitate to take Prince

Amukamara in the first round when the Nebraska cornerback was

available with the 19th pick overall.

It left Ross in no man’s land. The Giants’ first-round pick in

2007 was down on the depth chart and fighting the stigma of being

injury-prone the past two seasons. He missed a good part of 2009

with hamstring issues and battled a painful foot injury most of

last season.

Three weeks into training camp, though, Ross is no longer an

afterthought. With Amukamara sidelined with a broken foot and

Thomas out for the year after suffering a major knee injury Monday

night, Ross is back in a starting role and anxious to show people

what he can do.

“Being out there on the outside and being able to make plays and

show the coaches I can make plays, and the fans, the media, it is

exciting,” said Ross, who has the added motivation of being in the

final year of his contract.

Ross said his biggest concern this season is staying healthy. If

he does, he has no doubt about his ability to play.

“I am really confident in myself to tell you the truth,” Ross

said. “I know what I can do. As long as I stay healthy I know that

I am fine. Coaches haven’t seen me healthy in two years, the fans

or you guys. Of course, y’all forget.

“But I know what I can do.”

Ross had three interceptions in each of his first two seasons,

but has not had one since 2008.

“I think I am a decent player,” Ross, 28, said. “They drafted me

here for a reason. So, as long as I am healthy, I believe I can be

a positive impact on the field.”

Ross, who is married to track star and Olympic gold medalist

Sanya Richards, is taking added precautions to stay healthy. He

used to keep stretching to a minimum. His approach is totally

different now.

“I have a guy coming in that stretches me, gets the knots out,

pretty much everything,” Ross said. “I put everything in the basket

and am letting it go.”

The injury to Thomas has kept the Giants scrambling to find

cornerbacks.

Veteran Brian Williams, 32, who has played with Minnesota,

Jacksonville and Atlanta, was signed by the Giants Wednesday.

“He is a veteran who knows how to play,” coach Tom Coughlin said

of Williams. “He has been a good physical blitzer, and we are in

need of someone who can learn quick and go from there.”

Williams has played in 128 regular-season games with 99 starts.

He has 19 career interceptions. Last season, he played in all 16

games with one start for the Falcons.

To make room for Williams, the Giants waived linebacker Kenny

Ingram.

The injury to Thomas also has given opportunities to players

like Michael Coe, rookie Darnell Burks and first-year pro Joe

Burnett, who had little chance of making the roster at the start of

camp.

“My mindset has always been to prepare to play and try to get

comfortable doing everything and when you get the opportunity, be

ready,” said Coe, a former Arkansas Razorback, who is now No. 3 on

the depth chart after spending part of last season with the Giants.

“You never know the circumstances. You have to have the mindset of

trying to absorb as much as you can.

“I am a lot more comfortable in this defense. It’s similar to

the one I had in college.”