Darian Thompson was happy to be back on the field Friday night against the Steelers. It had been almost a full year since he’d played in a game, missing all but two contests last season with a foot injury that now, he said, is 100 percent healed.

The next step is the important one, though. That entails getting back to being the player he was.

“There are a lot of things that I need to work on before I’m at the level I want to be,” the safety said Monday. “I was a little rusty. Mentally and physically . . . I’m going to continue to work, continue to grind and see what happens.”

The Giants have high hopes that he will pick up on the promise he held for them when he was the penciled-in starter as a rookie last year. He’s been with the first team all summer, so that job seems to be his. It’s just a matter of what he can do with it.

When the Giants selected him in last year’s draft, they wanted him to be a ballhawk in the secondary, and he showed flashes of that in camp. His play should allow for Landon Collins, the Giants’ Pro Bowler at the other safety spot, to play more at the line of scrimmage and be disruptive while Thompson patrols the deeper parts of the field.

“Landon’s game is just different,” Thompson said. “Landon is free regardless of who is behind him. So I just like to be back there to be the protection for the whole team, not just him.”

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And add a few interceptions while he’s at it? “I would like to think so,” he said.

Perkins still the one

Ben McAdoo continued to back away from his offseason proclamation that Paul Perkins will be the starting running back. “Whoever plays the best is going to get the ball,” he said, although he also noted that right now, that person is Perkins. “He’s out there first. By no means have I lost confidence in Paul Perkins. I have a lot of trust and confidence in him. He’s a young player who is working hard to get better and has a lot of value for us.”

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Giant steps

The Giants signed WR Andrew Turzilli and LB Chris Casher. They waived WR Kevin Norwood, who suffered a hip injury on Sunday, and TE Colin Thompson, who had an appendectomy . . . DT Corbin Bryant was carted off the field with a painful elbow injury . . . With the Giants in full pads on Monday, LB Mark Herzlich, recovering from a stinger, did not practice. He worked on Sunday in lighter-contact situations.