- Kieran Darcy, ESPNNewYork.com
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- David Diehl wants his job back.
Whether he will get it is a whole 'nother story.
The veteran offensive lineman pronounced himself 100 percent healthy Thursday, after missing three games earlier this season with a knee injury. He has played the past two weeks, but hasn't regained his starting role, instead being used as an extra lineman/tight end in the Giants' jumbo package.
"I wanna contribute, I wanna do anything I can, I wanna play. All the guys in here, all the guys around me know how hard I worked to get back, and get back healthy, and get back feeling good," Diehl said. "But the most important thing I can do is continue to work hard like I do and support these guys and help them out in any way.
"Of course I’d like to be starting out there and doing everything like I normally do. But if that doesn’t happen then I’m not gonna sit here and sulk."
Diehl, 32, has played his entire 10-year NFL career with the Giants, after being drafted in the fifth round out of Illinois in 2003. Prior to this season, he had played in 140 of a possible 144 regular season games, and started in all 140.
He began this season starting as well, at right tackle. But Diehl suffered a sprained MCL in the Giants' Week 2 win against the Buccaneers.
The O-line hardly missed a beat in his absence. Ahmad Bradshaw had a 200-yard rushing game against the Browns, and a 116-yard game against the staunch 49ers defense. Andre Brown, filling in for Bradshaw, ran for 113 yards against the Panthers. And Eli Manning has only been sacked three times in the past five games.
Fellow veteran Sean Locklear, with 82 NFL starts under his belt before the Giants picked him up in the offseason, has assumed Diehl's starting role at right tackle.
"Sean has done a great job and we’re winning football games," Diehl said. "That’s the most important thing of anything, is that your team is winning and you’re contributing any way possible."
Still, this has to be difficult for Diehl -- the team's longest tenured player, along with defensive end Osi Umenyiora, the team's second-round pick in 2003.
"You don’t assume anything," said Diehl, when asked if he thought his starting job would be waiting for him when he returned. "You would hope so. But like I said, the fact that if it doesn’t happen, I’m not -- don’t get me wrong, I would love to be starting, I would love to be back out there, that’s what I’m here for, that’s what I’ve always done. But, like I said, if that doesn’t happen, it’s not going to change the way I feel about Sean. It’s not going to change the way I feel about our coaches and our
"I’ve been hurt. I’ve been out. There’s nothing I can do to change that. It’s not like I lost my job. I got hurt and lost my job, if that’s the case."
That does appear to be the case, at least for now. The Giants, last in the NFL in rushing a season ago, are ninth in the league in rushing yards this season. And they've given up the least amount sacks of any team in the league.
You can't argue with results.