The Giants Guys

Giants’ Minicamp: CB William Gay Running With the Ones

When the New York Giants signed veteran CB William Gay in free agency this past April, they knew they were getting a seasoned veteran who could play a versatile role for them.  The two outside corner spots were reserved for Pro Bowler Janoris Jenkins and former first round pick Eli Apple. Gay was brought in for depth and experience.

Thus far this spring, Gay has emerged into another role, that of slot corner, and he is making the most of the opportunity. He gives the Giants some options in filling the role held the last season or so by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who was released by the team earlier this year.

“He’s a pro’s pro,” said DC James Bettcher. ” Everything that when we talked about having Will join us, anyone that you talk to, loves his work ethic, loves the seriousness and the professional mentality that he brings to the room. He is going to ask great questions, going to be very engaged, has done a great job with some of our younger players. And [taught] some of our guys that are three- and four-year players, about how to have longevity in this league and play at a high level. He knows what a great defense looks like from the inside and we’re excited to have him here working with us.”

He has. In addition to adding to the team’s arsenal of talent on defense, Gay has embraced the younger players, especially Apple, who had a bevy of on and off -the-field issues last season. He was quoted as saying that Apple could become a “Hall-of-Famer”.

“(Gay is) the old head in the group now,” safety Andrew Adams said as per Dan Duggan of The Athletic. “It was DRC, so now Will kind of embraced the role. He gets everybody together so we can all hang out and have fun outside of the facility, which brings us closer on the field.”

The younger players in the secondary unit call him “Grandpa” as he is 33 and entering his 12th season in the NFL. Gay was drafted out of Louisville by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2005 NFL Draft and has played in all 176 games since then – 160 for the Steelers surrounded by a year in Arizona (2012), starting 102. He was a member of the Steelers’ team that defeated the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. Gay has been a very productive player over his career: 563 tackles (463 solo), 7.0 sacks, 13 interceptions, 87 passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. From 2013-15, he returned an NFL-record five consecutive interceptions for touchdowns.

The durable Gay’s playing time had been cut last season in Pittsburgh, playing in just 266 snaps, which was approximately 27% of the Steeler’s defensive plays. He realizes he will have to take any role the team offers.

“I went from playing a lot the year before to maybe 15 snaps, but I didn’t let that deter me because I’m all about my team,” Gay said as per Duggan. “If I get short-cut on my playing time, the season doesn’t stop. So I had to find ways to contribute to the game in other ways. So I held the clipboard, I made sure when they came to the sideline they knew the adjustments or they knew what they were trying to do. I was just trying to do anything I can to put my hand in the pile. And that’s my motivation here, whether I’m playing or not playing. I’m putting my hand in the pile some type of way.”

Gay is prepared for everything and anything these days . He fits right to the Giants’ new mantra of team play. He could have packed it in when the Steelers moved on from him in March, but the fire was still burning. He has more to accomplish, he feels.

“I didn’t come here just to go out there and play every Sunday,” Gay said. “I came here to try to win a championship. That’s the only reason that I didn’t retire. So we’re going to do everything we can to hoist that Lombardi (Trophy) up.”




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