The New York Giants made some tough decisions on Friday (Aug. 31) when trimming their roster down to 53 players. Cutting veteran running back D.J. Ware had to be one of the toughest.
A member of two Super Bowl championship teams, Ware played five seasons for the Giants, but there are no guarantees in the football business. The arrival of first-round pick David Wilson realistically left two roster spots for three running backs -- Ware, Andre Brown, a fourth-round pick in 2009, and second-year pro Da'Rel Scott. The competition went down to the wire.
Brown, who had a strong camp, may have won a roster spot in the final game of the preseason. He rushed for a team-leading 55 yards on 14 carries against the New England Patriots. Scott, who scampered for 32 yards in the game, turned a dump-off pass into an 18-yard gain and returned a kick 23 yards. His speed and versatility couldn't be ignored, especially on special teams.
"(Brown) played well. He ran hard. He made some good, solid, powerful runs," coach Tom Coughlin told Giants.com on Thursday. "I liked the way in which he played and the effort that he displayed and the speed with which he played and caught the ball coming out of the backfield, as did Da'Rel. I think both of them distinguished themselves."
The writing was on the clubhouse wall.
Make no mistake, Ware had his strengths. He was a reliable third-down back, capable of picking up the blitz and catching the ball out of the backfield. But he carried the rock just one time over the final two preseason games. He averaged 2.9 yards per carry on 17 attempts overall. By the end of the preseason, Ware was the odd man out.
"Ware was here for a while and any time you have those relationships with people, it's tough to see them go." Coughlin told the Associated Press. "Fortunately, these are men and they understand that decisions have to be made."
It was a tough decision, but it was the right decision.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who proudly wears his Rodney Hampton jersey on Sundays during the football season. He grew up in Queens, N.Y. rooting for the Giants despite being surrounded by Jets fans. Adam follows back Giants fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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