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Antrel Rolle: It's my defense now!

Antrel Rolle reacts in the second half of

Antrel Rolle reacts in the second half of a game against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium. (Nov. 17, 2013) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

On Tuesday, Antrel Rolle downplayed the significance of being the only returning captain on the Giants' defense. With Justin Tuck gone and Jon Beason entering his first full season with the team, it is clear that Rolle will assume a much larger leadership role with the team this season. He just didn’t see it that way.

“I just go out there and play ball,” he said when he spoke with reporters on Tuesday. “I just know how to be Antrel. I don’t worry about wearing several different kind of hats. I just go out there and play ball. If I need to say something it’s going to be said, if I need to do something it’s going to be done. I just go out there and play ball. I think there should be 53 leaders in this locker room, not four or five or six. There’s going to be 53. Every man leads in their own way.”

Apparently, though, sleeping on the idea changed Rolle’s perspective. Because when he appeared on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio on Wednesday morning, he was (probably rightly) claiming the defense as his own and noting that he has a “huge sense of responsibility” for the unit.

“The way I look at the locker room, you know, these are my babies,” Rolle said in the radio interview. “These are my guys, these are my teammates, these are my brothers, these are the guys that I must protect at every given second that I’m there, that I’m with them on the field (and) off the field.”

“As far as it being my locker room or my defense,” he added, “yeah, I feel like I do hold a certain kind of title.”

One thing Rolle didn’t change his tune on from Tuesday to Wednesday was his appreciation of the changes that the Giants made this offseason. He reiterated in the radio interview his pleasure with the additions.

“I love what they’ve done,” he said on Tuesday. “They made some great moves, explosive moves, guys who can come in and contribute right away and help the team win.”

There is a chance that this will be Rolle’s final year with the Giants. It’s certainly the last year on his contract and while the 31-year-old safety said he thinks he can play several more years the Giants may have other ideas when it comes to negotiating. Rolle need only look to the last “owner” of the Giants defense, Justin Tuck, to see how quickly a player can go from king to the free agency market.

“If this happens to be my last year with the Giants, it will be my best season, so I’m gonna go out with a bang,” Rolle said on Wednesday. “But hopefully it’s not.”

New York Sports