Aaron Ross turning heads at Giants training campAfter a year with Jacksonville, the corner returns to New York more focused
After spending last season in Jacksonville, the 30-year-old Ross has been one of the early surprises at Giants' training camp.
''I don't single guys out, but I have to admit he is one of the guys that stands out in my eyes,'' safety Antrel Rolle said Thursday. ''I've been with Ross for a number of years, and just to see him come back, his work ethic on and off the field, he seems like a different person. It seems like he is more focused and more in tune.''
In the first week of camp, Ross has intercepted two passes, defended others, jumped a couple of routes and been a presence for a secondary that gave up 254.3 yards last season, 28th in the league.
''He seems like an Aaron Ross who has something to prove,'' Rolle said.
The way Ross is playing, there is a chance that he could push incumbent Corey Webster for a starting job. Webster struggled last season and agreed to a $3 million pay cut for the final year of his contract, lowering his salary to $4 million. Prince Amukamara is set at the other corner.
''Whatever the coach decides, that's what I'm with,'' Ross said. ''I'm going to compete and when my number is called I want to be prepared to go out there and execute however; if I'm the starter or I'm the nickel. So I just want to be ready for when that No. 31 is called.''
Ross is used to having his number called by the Giants. He was their first-round draft pick in 2007, and played on two Super Bowl championship teams. He was signed by the Jaguars to a three-year, $15.3 million contract in the spring of 2012.
The former Texas product appeared in 14 games with Jacksonville, but was cut after the season. The Giants re-signed him as a free agent for $715,000 with a $65,000 signing bonus.
Ross doesn't like to talk about his time in Florida, insisting it's behind him. However, it is obvious he loves being back in New Jersey. His attitude is a lot different. And he has been much more accessible with the media.
''I guess it's just the years and the maturity,'' Ross said. ''I think that's the main thing and knowing that it can be over at any time; getting released from Jacksonville, knowing that you might not have a job. It kind of breaks everything down and brings everything in perspective for you.
''So to have an opportunity to come back to where everything started and to come back home and see how much the coaches love you and how much the players missed you, it just brings a smile to your face and makes you want to fight even harder.''
Ross also is benefiting from working with Sam Madison, the former Giants cornerback who is working with the team as a coaching intern.
''Man, that's like the big brother,'' Ross said. ''My rookie year, Sam took me under his wing and kind of showed me the ropes, taught me what to do, taught me how to take care of my body, how to study, how to take notes. He's doing exactly the same thing he was doing in my rookie year.
''Sam, that's a huge bonus to our secondary, especially the corners.''
NOTES: WR Hakeem Nicks was held out of practice because he continues to have problems with a groin injury. While disappointed, coach Tom Coughlin said he knows Nicks wants to be on the field. ... The Giants waived Jeremy Horne (foot) and signed fellow WR Julian Talley. ... DT Cullen Jenkins missed practice because of the death of his grandmother. ... Second TE Adrien Robinson made two nice catches over the middle. ... Amukamara intercepted Eli Manning on the first play of an 11-on-11 set. ... First-round draft pick Justin Pugh took a couple of snaps with the first team at RT. ... Coughlin will miss team meetings on Saturday night to attend the Hall of Fame induction of former Giants coach Bill Parcells.