Giants hold first of 10 organized team activities

May 27, 2009 9:16:16 PM PDT
The New York Giants held the first of 10 voluntary organized team activities on Wednesday, with the team using the opportunity to use their new field house, which features a 100-yard field. The field house is part of a new training facility that includes the team headquarters, a massive weight room, a spacious cafeteria and four outdoor fields - three 100-yard grass fields and one 80-yard FieldTurf field.

"It's an incredible facility," coach Tom Coughlin said. "It's really something to be in there and just to realize it's the New York Giants training facility."

The Giants' old indoor facility was a bubble next to Giants Stadium that had a roughly 50-yard field. There also was an outdoor grass field next to the bubble and the artificial turf field in the stadium.

"I feel like we're playing in an indoor stadium," linebacker Antonio Pierce said of the new field house. "It's like Ford Field or the Metrodome. "That's how big it is. I don't want to say the bubble was small, but there you only really have 30 yards. The offense has 30 yards and we've got 30 yards, so you can't really do anything. Now, we've got a whole football field."

Quarterback Eli Manning said the field house was a vast improvement.

"It's so much better, the lighting, there's more room," Manning said. "You can get all your work in. You can throw your deep routes. You don't have to worry about running the guy into the wall. You can really let it go."

The workout was the first for the Giants since being knocked out of the playoffs by Philadelphia in January.

"This time of the year, your clock tells you it's time to be out there," Coughlin said.

The Giants have changed since the loss. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was hired as head coach of the St. Louis Rams and replaced by Bill Sheridan, the former linebackers coach.

The NFC East champions also released troubled receiver Plaxico Burress.

"It's a good day," Manning said. "This is what we like to do - we like to play football. We like to be on the field competing and throwing the ball around. That's what our job is. It's good to be out there with the coaches and seeing the abilities of some of the new guys and seeing how other guys have improved."

It also marked the return of defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who missed all of last season after injuring his knee in a preseason game against the Jets.

"It felt good," Umenyiora said. "I was excited, very excited to be around those guys. I realized I missed them. I miss being out there. This is my seventh year. I'm the oldest (longest-tenured) guy here. Imagine that, I'm the oldest guy on this defense as far as being with the Giants. When I look around, it's just amazing that I've been here that long. I'm just happy to be here."