Mathias Kiwanuka has been around long enough to understand the business side of the NFL. But the Giants linebacker/defensive end still was surprised by the release of three veteran players this week.
The Giants cut running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive tackle Chris Canty and linebacker Michael Boley. The moves save the team $13.75 million against the salary cap in 2013 but also eliminate three core players from the Super Bowl champion 2011 team.
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"You're definitely surprised because you're talking about contributors, guys who were key factors in us winning championships . . . ," Kiwanuka said Thursday. "It's tough, but it's out of my control."
Kiwanuka appeared at Franklin K. Lane High in Brooklyn on Thursday to congratulate the school's PSAL championship football team. Kiwanuka encouraged the young players to chase their dreams but also was confronted with the realities of his profession.
"This is the NFL. We know that we're playing on borrowed time throughout our careers," said Kiwanuka, who is signed through the 2015 season. "For me, I'm a guy who's had some ups and downs, position changes. I understand that any game or practice could be your last one, so you've just got to take full advantage of it. Enjoy it and put in as much work as you can to make sure you're here another day."
Also Thursday, Boley spoke on WFAN about being released. He said he "didn't see it coming" but understood why the Giants made the decisions. "After being in the league for a while, I guess you can somewhat expect things like that, especially as you get older," he said. Boley had nothing but kind words for the Giants, calling them a "top-notch organization."
Kiwanuka said the loss of the veteran players will impact the chemistry in the locker room and that their leadership will be missed on the field. The 28-year-old is up for the challenge of helping to fill the void.
"My role has been ever-changing," he said. "It's something that's always been in flux so I've kind of taken that on. I've grown accustomed to moving back and forth between positions, so whatever is best for this team and best to get me on the field, I'm ready to do it."
Rogers, Pascoe re-sign.The Giants re-signed defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who missed the 2012 season after suffering a blood clot in his calf in the preseason. Rogers, a 13-year veteran, will add experience at the position after the loss of Canty. Also, according to NFLPA records, the Giants have signed tight end/fullback Bear Pascoe to a one-year deal worth $715,000. Pascoe would have become a restricted free agent next month had he not signed.