From Heartbeat To Leader: Antrel Rolle Says Giants Are His Team Now
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Who’s house? Rolle’s house!
New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle says he feels a “huge sense of responsibility” to step up as the leader of the team — and their defense — in the wake of this offseason’s roster shakeup.
“The way I look at the locker room, you know, these are my babies,” Rolle said Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “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.”
Gone is longtime defensive leader Justin Tuck, who signed with Oakland when he couldn’t strike the deal he wanted with Giants general manager Jerry Reese.
“As far as it being my locker room or my defense, yeah, I feel like I do hold a certain kind of title,” Rolle said.
The Giants re-signed a major piece in linebacker Jon Beason, then proceeded to rebuild their ‘D’ with a flood of newcomers: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, S Quintin Demps, LB Jameel McClain, CB Walter Thurmond, CB Zack Bowman and DE Robert Ayers.
The Giants finished 7-9 last season after starting in an 0-6 hole that proved too deep to overcome. Rolle said it was time for “a new attitude, a new atmosphere.”
“There’s a lot of new faces,” he said. “But you know what? To be honest with you, I like it.”
The 31-year-old knows this could be his swan song in New York as he’s entering the final year of his $37-million contract.
The Giants had an obvious heir apparent in Rolle, often described as the heartbeat of Big Blue. If he’s replaced — a la Tuck — in 2015, they may not be so lucky.
“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. “But hopefully it’s not.”
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