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By Patti Traina, The Sports Xchange June 13, 2013 3:00 PM
New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas, attempting to come back from a third ACL surgery, said he has no doubt in his ability to complete what's been a long journey for him physically and emotionally.EAST RUTHERFORD, N. J. --
"I'm able to do everything," he said. "It's more just about getting comfortable and trusting myself without hesitating, without thinking, and just reacting. I'm almost there. "Physically, I haven't swelled up in the last four months and I've been progressing every week, and each week I get better and faster and stronger. So it's just a progression. I have to be realistic with myself knowing that I had two ACLs in one year and it's a long journey, but I'll be back and I'm going to shock a lot of people." Thomas also keeps an open mind regarding where he lines up if he makes it back. "I'm whatever they need me to be," he said. "I just want to play football. At this point in my career, it's all about getting healthy and getting on the field and contributing in any way and if that's a leadership role, that's a safety role, nickel, corner, kickoff, whatever; I'll do whatever I've got to do." --Running back Andre Brown, projected to be the team's number two back behind David Wilson, credited former teammate Ahmad Bradshaw -- now with the Indianapolis Colts -- for having a positive influence on him last season. Now that he's the most seasoned running back in the room in terms of NFL experience, Brown is hoping to fill the leadership void. "Being around Ahmad early in my career, speaking up as a leader, and now as me being more of a vocal leader is kind of like -- because those guys did most of the talking leadership wise and they carried the leadership of the room. I'm the oldest guy in the room now, and it's like I've got to become more of a vocal leader and make sure the young boys know." As one of his first leadership tasks, Brown said he's taken seventh-round draft pick Michael Cox under his wing to help the rookie in familiarizing himself with the playbook. "Michael knows the plays and the protections and I go over it with him and making sure he knows the steps and stuff like that," he said. "I guess I'm finally mature enough where I can step into that role and be a very effective leader." --First round draft pick Justin Pugh, who isn't yet signed, said the holdup has been over guaranteed money. Still, the offensive lineman remained optimistic about being present for the start of training camp. "I'm not missing any training camp. No way," he said. Coach Tom Coughlin was asked if offensive linemen Chris Snee and David Baas, both of whom are recovering from offseason surgeries, would be ready for training camp. "That's what I'm told, that they will be ready to go," he said. "I'm sure there will be some limitations. It won't be like what it is here. They'll be able to work." --Coughlin said fullback Henry Hynoski, who is recovering from knee surgery, is doing well, and has received daily treatment. But the coach couldn't give an estimated guess as to when he might have his starting fullback back, other than to express hope that Hynoski can meet the goal of being ready for the start of the season. "I hope so, just like I hope for Jason Pierre-Paul," he said, naming his sidelined defensive end. Coughlin said Pierre-Paul is back in New Jersey after undergoing successful back surgery in Los Angeles. "He's in the process of getting to the point where he can do some things and I know that probably for the first three or four weeks he's not going to be doing much," Coughlin said. --Coughlin praised third-year linebacker Mark Herzlich for his spring performance, saying that Herzlich has stepped up his efforts as a leader. "He's a smart guy (and) he's verbal," Coughlin said. "I'm not surprised. It's a good thing. He enunciates well. People understand what he says." Herzlich is competing with Dan Connor, who signed in the offseason, for the starting middle linebacker job, which became available when Chase Blackburn signed with the Carolina Panthers. Herzlich has looked sharp, making better reads and taking better angles. At one point, Coughlin noted that the former Boston College standout and cancer survivor put together a string of consecutive days in which he had at least one turnover.