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Saturday, July 30, 2011
First practice in helmets

By Jane McManus

The Giants signed autographs for fans in the bleachers, set up in the parking lot next to the Timex Performance Center across the street from to the New Meadowlands Stadium. Finally after negotiations and a lockout, New York Giants football was back.

Afterwards Tom Coughlin said he had a nice conversation with Plaxico Burress, which he wanted to keep confidential, but did say that it probably wasn't the end of the communication with his former wide receiver, and he said the Giants could use him.

"We have some young guys that we really haven’t had the chance to see if they could contribute," Coughlin hedged. "Last year we certainly needed depth at the position."

Osi Umenyiora arrived at 4 p.m., which was too late for him to get a physical. Last season the DE had hip and knee issues, but addressed the hip surgically in the offseason. Coughlin said his physical should occur on Sunday. In other health-related news, OL Adam Koets (knee) didn't practice, and neither did WR Ramses Barden, who is on the PUP.

The practice started with punt returns. Matt Dodge looked strong and accurate, while Jerrel Jernigan dropped two early on, Darius Reynaud also Dominik Hixon took reps. Coughlin said Dodge is competing for a starting spot against Steve Weatherford, who can start practicing Aug. 4.

Michael Boley, Clint Sintim and Jonathan Goff saw time at linebacker, while in a offensive line missing new center David Baas, Chris Snee took over at that spot and Mitch Petrus was on the right.

In what could be bad news for two Giants free agents, DE Justin Trattou was wearing Dave Tollefson's No. 71 and LB Jacquian Williams wore Chase Blackburn's No. 57.