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Saturday, August 3, 2013
Diehl to haters: 'Keep bringing it'

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- David Diehl is leaner and lighter than he has been in years.

And at 32, Diehl is hungrier than ever too. A fiery Diehl let everybody know that he's ready for all challengers at right tackle.

For those outside the organization who doubt he can still play and are counting him out? Diehl says keep talking, "haters."

David Diehl
David Diehl started his first 120 games as a Giant and won two Super Bowl rings but was slowed last season by a knee injury.

"I've heard that since I was 5 years old," Diehl said. "I am a fifth-round draft pick who has started as long as I have. I have been in the league for 11 years. You hear that stuff all the time.

"I love haters. Keep bringing it. I don't care."

Right tackle is the only position up for grabs on the offensive line. The Giants drafted Justin Pugh with their first-round pick this spring, and the team also wants to see what James Brewer can do there.

But Diehl is currently the starter, and he won't go down without a fight.

After having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after last season, Diehl altered his conditioning and diet. He is now 304 pounds -- about 10 pounds lighter than last year -- and he cut out 3-4 percent of his body fat.

"Slim and trim," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said about Diehl. "We may want him a little bit heavier. Whatever way he can perform to the best of his ability, that's where we want him."

The Giants have started Diehl at right tackle with Pugh taking second-team reps until the rookie suffered a concussion late this week. Brewer has been filling in at right guard for the injured Chris Snee, who is making his way back from offseason hip surgery.

By Diehl's estimation, he hasn't been this light since 2004, his second season in the league. Diehl played 13 games last season and started nine of them at right tackle. He missed three games due to a knee injury he suffered in Week 2 that hampered him for most of the season.

Diehl is the longest-tenured Giant and one of the most durable on the roster. He has missed only seven games in 10 seasons and started his first 120 games, the longest streak in franchise history.

But the knee injury took its toll on Diehl last season. This year, Diehl took a pay cut to remain with the team. He then watched the Giants draft Pugh to challenge him at right tackle.

"Of course, it is not the first [time] that they have ever drafted somebody, and [it's] not going to be the last as long as I play," Diehl said. "Regardless of those circumstances [the knee injury], I didn't play my best football last year.

"Being 100 percent healthy like I am right now, the way I changed my diet and my conditioning … I've never been more ready to play football in my life. Let people say what they want to say, challenge me. I [couldn't] care less because I am ready to roll."

Diehl is one of several Giants who are basically on a one-year deal. This could be Diehl's final season with the only team he has ever known.

"I don't need to know what's happening after this season," Diehl said. "All I can focus on is right now, and I know I'm working my butt off to do whatever I can. I am playing good football. I feel great. That is all that matters to me. I don't care about down the road."

"I am not ready to hang up my cleats," he added. "I worked extremely hard to prove it to people that I am going to do it this year. I have never been more ready to play football. Challenge me, throw whatever you want at me. I [couldn't] care less. I know what I am capable of, and I know what I am going to do."