Between the lines, there's trash collection

Players accept it as good, clean fun

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / February 4, 2012
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INDIANAPOLIS - There’s nothing planned about it. The smack is usually spontaneous.

“It’s so natural, unrehearsed,’’ said Giants safety Deon Grant.

Sometimes, it’s a one-off remark.

“I might call him out of his name, I might take it further than that,’’ Grant said.

Sometimes the verbal war might turn into a game-long back-and-forth.

Grant still remembers the first time he ever lined up against Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin, then with the Cardinals.

Grant was coming in to make a play on the run, but he never got there. Boldin knocked him on his back.

To this day, Grant sees it as something of a cheap shot. At that moment, he let Boldin know about it, belittling him in the process.

“I said, let’s not do all that cheap stuff or I’m gonna catch you next time.’’

Boldin flinched.

“It shocked me because receivers really shy away from stuff like that,’’ Grant said. “He turned around and said, ‘All right DG, you’re right. I’ll keep it legal.’ ’’

They went back and forth all game.

“He got me a couple times, I got him a couple times,’’ Grant remembers. “But we shook hands and ever since then we’ve been friends and we’ve been great competitors against one another.’’

This week leading up to the Super Bowl, the Giants haven’t been short on confidence.

Safety Antrel Rolle essentially guaranteed victory. Chris Canty, playing off comments made by Tom Brady, said Giants fans will enjoy the victory parade. But as far as true trash talk, Grant says he saves almost all of it for the field.

“I don’t talk trash in the media,’’ Grant said. “I don’t think they can pull up an article where I’ve went at someone or called somebody out. Now, said something on the field? Yeah, I’ll go at it with anybody because that’s when I transform.’’

Part of it, he said, is the position. Prodigious trash talkers can be found anywhere on the field. But, starting with Deion Sanders, the list is endless of defensive backs with mouths like megaphones.

“I don’t know if it’s just because a defensive player . . . you look at him as being aggressive because we’re always in attack mode, we’re the angriest ones, we’re the ones that probably get in the most trouble because of the mentality we’re always trying to just disrupt things,’’ Grant said. “So when we’re saying something, we’re not praising somebody, we’re talking trash to him.’’

Rolle said he’s only talked trash in the media once this season, and he couldn’t back it up.

He told a New York radio station that if the Giants played the Redskins 100 times, they’d win all but five of them.

Then, he corrected himself. He meant they’d win 99 times.

The Redskins beat them twice this season.

“I can only speak for myself, but this is just the way I am,’’ Rolle said. “This is not a game, it’s not a front. I feel like whoever I go up against, I’m going to win eight out of 10 battles and that’s just the way I go into the game.

“The only thing that matters, the only thing that’s ever mattered in this league - it’s not what you say, it’s not what I say, it’s not what you think, it’s not what I think - it’s the W and the L column. Nothing else matters.’’

The only true trash talk this week has been Mario Manningham’s comments about the Patriots’ Julian Edelman, a receiver and punt returner who’s seen a lot of work in the New England secondary as well.

Manningham said he was hoping Edelman would be out there tomorrow and that the Giants receivers would expose him. He didn’t back off.

Earlier he said, “He plays wide receiver. He’s not a real defensive back. Did he get drafted as a defensive back? We [the Giants receivers] have a little bond going on knowing that we can beat somebody. We’re confident. I hope he’s out there.’’

When he talked about defending the Patriots’ overgrown tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, Grant said, “We don’t really look at size when we’re trying to attack the person with the ball. He can be 6-6, 340. He can be 6-6, 270. He can be 5-5, 800 pounds. In our mind it’s to get that guy on the ground.’’

And as far as his pseudo-guarantee, Rolle said, “I’m a very confident player, we’re a very confident team, and I’m not saying it’s a guarantee, I’m not saying we’re the best team in the NFL right now, I’m just saying we are who we are and we know exactly who we are.’’

The Giants haven’t taken back anything.

“We’re not going to bite our tongue,’’ Grant said. “If one of my fellow teammates talks trash - whether it’s the secondary, linebacker, D-line, offense - I’m going to back them. That’s just how it is, because I know they’re not going to say anything that they don’t feel like this team can’t go out and do.’’

Even though he’s known for being a disciplinarian and keeping a close tab on what his players say in the media, Giants coach Tom Coughlin hasn’t had a problem with anything his players have said this week.

“I know that there are one or two quotes out there, but to be honest with you, I don’t know that either one of them is any different than Tom Brady’s quotes,’’ he said. “I think it’s just a matter of our team has played good football against a great football team. We always focus our team on confidence enough to get there and confident enough to get back. That’s the way we look at it.’’

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