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Aaron Ross finding new ways to contribute

Aaron Ross stretches with teammates during a Giants'

Aaron Ross stretches with teammates during a Giants' morning practice, Monday. (Aug. 2, 2010) Photo Credit: Jon Winslow

Aaron Ross isn’t worried about getting his starting job back. He’s actually got more things to worry about in this training camp.

Ross has stepped in as the Giants’ primary punt returner, a role he’d been bugging the team to let him try since he was drafted.

“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “I’m finally getting a chance to do it in the NFL. I loved it when I was in college and now I finally get a chance to show my skills off back there.”

He’s also playing as the nickel cornerback, coming in on passing downs to cover a wide receiver. The way the Giants have been working it so far in this camp, Terrell Thomas – who took over Ross’ job last year when Ross was hurt and seems like he’ll keep it this season – moves inside to cover the slot and Ross comes on to cover an outside receiver when the defense goes with its nickel look.

If that alignment holds up for the start of the season, it means that Ross won’t technically be a starter. But the way defenses work in the NFL these days, he’ll probably be on the field more than some who just happen to be there for the first play of the game.

Maybe that’s why Ross doesn’t seem too hung up on being labeled a starter.

“I’m really not focused on trying to get my job back,” he said. “I’m just focused on trying to make it through camp and just doing what I need to do to get on the field. If I’m not the starter, then I’ll be the best 12th man you’ve ever seen.”

Ross also spoke to me about how he changed his offseason training program this year in an effort to avoid those hamstring troubles that sabbotaged his 2009 season. That story will be in the newspaper tomorrow and probably online sometime this evening.

New York Sports