From Comcast SportsNetEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Giants continued their roster purge after missing the playoffs, cutting leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive tackle Chris Canty.The salary cap-saving moves on Wednesday came one day after New York let starting weakside linebacker Michael Boley go after four seasons. The Giants also waived defensive tackle Martin Parker, who spent this past season on injured reserve with a back injury.Bradshaw, Canty and Boley were all veterans who contributed to the Giants' Super Bowl win over the Patriots a year ago, but they all had big contracts and battled injuries.Bradshaw, who has had knee and ankle injuries, was to earn 4.25 million. He became expendable with the play of rookie David Wilson. Canty, who had knee issues with the Giants after never missing a game with Dallas, was to earn 6.5 million next season. Boley, who had shoulder and hamstring injuries last season, was to make 4 million this season.The biggest surprise might have been the release of Bradshaw, who was one of the emotional leaders of the team.The 26-year-old, who played on two Super Bowl championship teams with the Giants, led the team in rushing each of the past three seasons, gaining 1,015 this past season."Pound for pound, Bradshaw is one of the toughest football players that I've been around," said general manager Jerry Reese, who took Bradshaw with the 250th pick in the 2007 draft. "Ahmad played football like Giants football should be played."One of the moments fans will remember is Bradshaw yelling at coach Tom Coughlin during a game this past season, saying he wanted the ball more. Coughlin had no problems with his fire."He is not only an exceptional football player, but he is the epitome of line up and play," Coughlin said. "Regardless of the circumstances, he's going to give you everything he's got. If you give the ball to him, he's going to get every inch of what is there -- and sometimes when it's not blocked, he still gets it."Bradshaw is sixth on the franchise's career rushing list with 4,232 yards and seventh with 921 rushing attempts. He rushed for 32 touchdowns, the ninth-highest total in team history.In his six seasons, he played in 84 regular-season games with 33 starts. He also caught 132 passes for 1,087 yards and three touchdowns.The Giants' first-round draft choice in 2012, Wilson rushed for 358 yards and four scores and also set a franchise record with 1,533 kickoff return yards. He will be backed up by Andre Brown, who rushed for 385 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns before breaking his leg in late November.Canty was signed in 2009 and played in 49 regular-season games with 45 starts, including all 20 games in the 2011 Super Bowl run. He had 155 tackles and nine sacks."Chris is a pro's pro, a true team player and competitor," Reese said. "He helped us get to the top in 2011 and it was a pleasure having him here during his time with the New York Giants."Canty missed the first six games of last season after having offseason knee surgery. He had 31 tackles and three sacks this past season, missing the finale because of a knee injury.Linval Joseph started at the other tackle for New York, which also has youngsters Marvin Austin and Markus Kuhn returning along with veteran Rocky Bernard.
What goes through Dont'a Hightower’s mind in the minutes before he takes the field and lowers himself into a cauldron of collisions, pain and exultation?
Not a thing.
“I rest. I literally rest,” said the Patriots Pro Bowl inside linebacker. “I don’t do anything else. I sit at my locker, I don’t listen to music. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary. I don’t look at film, I don’t look at notes. I’m just relaxed. Calm before the storm. I’ve done enough preparing, I’ve done enough notes, I’ve done enough of that stuff during the week. If I don’t know it by now, I don’t know it. It’s not gonna help me last minute. It’s only gonna make me play slower.”
By the time an NFL team hits the field – in the Patriots case, runs out of a giant, inflatable helmet while Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” blares – they are primped, polished, taped and glistening.
But what is their day like leading up to that? I asked a few Patriots to take me through their game-day prep from wakeup to anthem to give me insight into what we don’t see.
You can hear Hightower, Nate Solder, Alan Branch, Devin McCourty and Rob Ninkovich detail the steps they take to get game-ready. French toast is involved. So are naps. And sock preparation.
It all builds to that moment of theater that Ninkovich says is what players truly miss when they leave the game – that feeling of euphoria.
“When we finally get to run out, that’s the most exciting time in the world,” says Solder. “The crowd wasn’t there earlier when we went out there and all of a sudden, the crowd is there. Very exciting, very fun, especially with the guys you work so hard with.”
Says McCourty, “I always think when I run out of the tunnel to look up and say, ‘Thank you’ just to be able to play.”
Listen to them tell their stories here:
FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick was not in any mood to start revealing his behind-the-scenes pre-kickoff routine on game-days. The air of focus he's exhibited during his media-availability periods this week continued on Friday, particularly when he was asked about his Sunday rituals.
When a reporter wondered if there was anything in particular Belichick does before a game, he initially said simply, "No."
A follow-up about superstitions was tossed Belichick's way next. He swatted that aside as well.
"Try to play and coach good," he explained. "Goes a long way."
There you have it. An easy-step-by-step guide on how to approach a game like a future Hall-of-Famer.
For more on Patriots pregame prep, click here.