Some Giants feel right at home in San Diego
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Terrell Thomas is in his sixth season in the NFL. On Sunday, he'll finally get to play a home game.
The Giants cornerback, who grew up in Alto Loma, Calif., and played collegiately at USC, is geeked up for his first NFL game in the Golden State. On Sunday, he and a handful of other Giants from California will play in San Diego, and they have been looking forward to this rare trip to Southern California.
"It's a long time coming," said Thomas, who was injured in the 2011 and 2012 seasons and missed three visits to San Francisco during that span.
To celebrate the occasion, Thomas has bought almost 70 tickets for the game. "Sixty-seven and going up by the minute," he said earlier in the week. "I haven't played there in a couple of years. A lot of family and friends are going to see me play. I'm really excited."
So are other Giants who have been transplanted across the country. Spencer Paysinger, who grew up in Los Angeles, said his family and friends will account for about 30 or so of the fans at Qualcomm Stadium. Mike Patterson, who grew up near Sacramento but played high school ball in Orange County before going to USC, said he has 20-something tickets.
With all of these Giants relatives, there's a chance the game won't be blacked out in the San Diego market, as it was last week.
"I get to see people I haven't seen in a while, especially family members, so I'm looking forward to it," Patterson said.
The Giants haven't been to Southern California since 2005. With no team in Los Angeles and the Chargers in a different conference, they're scheduled to play in the area only once every eight years. For Giants players, this may be a once-in-a-career opportunity.
Reserve linebacker Allen Bradford, who grew up in San Bernadino, about two hours from San Diego, and also played at USC, said he isn't having many family members at the game. But he will see some friends there . . . because they play for the Chargers.
"A couple of my high school teammates play for them," Bradford said. "I've known [cornerback] Shareece Wright since like the seventh grade and [backup quarterback] Brad Sorrenson since the fifth grade. It'll be cool to see those guys."
Bradford isn't the only one with that kind of connection. Thomas grew up playing Pop Warner football with Chargers safety Eric Weddle. In fact, Weddle has helped Thomas get his hands on the tickets he needs.
Thomas was able to get one section of about 30 tickets all together. The rest of his seats are spread around the stadium in groups of five or 10. So who sits where?
"That's my mom's job to figure that out," he said.
Thomas is paying for all of those tickets, too, at about $100 a pop. It's a lot of money, but it's cheaper than flying everyone to New Jersey to watch him play at MetLife Stadium.
"It's hard to send everybody out here with the plane tickets -- it's almost $800 apiece -- so I guess I can provide the ticket going home," Thomas said, joking that the Giants owe him money for all of the plane tickets he's bought over the years. "It gets expensive."
Of course, you don't have to be from California to bring family to the game. Prince Amukamara, who grew up in Glendale, Ariz., said a few of his relatives are making the five-hour drive to San Diego to watch the game.
Well, not only to watch the game.
"Plus," Amukamara said with a smile, "it's just another reason for some of them to take a mini-vacay."