Shorthanded Giants sign veteran DT Legree

Scrambling to locate healthy bodies and forced to line up with at least one tackle at defensive end because of injuries, the New York Giants on Thursday added a familiar reinforcement to the roster, signing veteran free agent Lance Legree.

Contract details were not immediately available, but it is likely that Legree signed a minimum-salary deal, prorated over the balance of the season.

This will mark Legree's second stint with the Giants. The former Notre Dame standout originally signed with New York as an undrafted college free agent in 2001.

Legree, 28, played four seasons with the Giants and then signed with the New York Jets as a free agent in 2005. After one year with the Jets, he signed with San Francisco this summer and was in training camp with the 49ers but was released just before the start of the regular season.

The addition of Legree, who is familiar with the New York defensive scheme, should provide the crippled Giants' front four with some flexibility. The Giants are missing their top three defensive ends -- Michael Strahan (foot), Osi Umenyiora (hip) and Justin Tuck (foot) -- and are starting rookie Mathias Kiwanuka, this year's first-round draft pick, at one end. Tuck was placed on injured reserve Wednesday afternoon.

In last Sunday's game, New York alternated tackles William Joseph and Fred Robbins at right end. The presence of Legree gives the Giants another experienced tackle, so the coaches might be able to align either Robbins or Joseph full-time at end for next Monday night's game at Jacksonville.

Legree has appeared in 75 games and has 134 tackles, seven sacks, one pass deflection, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.