Officially the Giants released wide receiver Preston Parker because they needed to add depth at defensive tackle and somebody had to go from the 53-man roster.

Unofficially?

"I'll leave that up to you," Tom Coughlin said Tuesday, showing little inclination to dissuade the impression that Parker's removal from the team was intended to send a message to an underperforming team.

That message: Produce or be gone.

Parker had become a target of scorn from the fans due to his five dropped passes in the first two games, including three on key third-downs against the Cowboys in the opener. He did catch 5 passes for 43 yards this season, playing the key role as a third receiver with Victor Cruz sidelined. The Giants will now turn to Dwayne Harris and rookie Geremy Davis to fill that spot, although Coughlin noted that all of his receivers can play in the slot.

Coughlin also dismissed the notion that Parker's release had anything to do with the pending return of Cruz from his calf injury. While Cruz has yet to practice fully since the injury, many expect him to be available in Week 4 or 5.

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"Preston Parker, for the majority of the time he was here, was a very tough, physical football player who made plays when called upon," Coughlin said. "That hasn't been the case necessarily this year. We thank him for his service."

The Giants re-signed defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis, who was with the team in training camp.