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Antrel Rolle's new role: Captain

Giants safety Antrel Rolle practices during team training

Giants safety Antrel Rolle practices during team training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Aug. 7, 2013) Credit: James Escher

Antrel Rolle has been asked to fill a lot of jobs during his tenure with the Giants. He's played strong safety, free safety, linebacker and nickel back. He's been the voice of the defense in the media and the heart of the unit in the locker room.

On Thursday he was given another line in his job description: Captain.

Rolle was among five Giants given the honor in a vote by teammates. Three of them already have served in the role: Eli Manning (sixth season), Justin Tuck (fourth) and Zak DeOssie (third). Chris Snee also will wear the "C'' on his shoulder, giving the Giants five captains, the most they have had since 2008.

Among that group, Rolle is the only one who is not a career-long Giant. And it seemed as if he might not be one for long, either, when he openly disagreed with Tom Coughlin's planning for an early road trip in 2010, his first season with the team, and was dissatisfied with having to play out of position in 2011.

But Rolle came around, and his criticism of the team after a loss to the Redskins late in the 2011 season is seen by many as one of the spurs toward a Super Bowl title.

"I think it says volumes about the young man and the way that he has come here, the way we started, and the transition that he's made into the New York Giant culture and the way he feels about his team and this franchise and his teammates," Coughlin said. "I think it says an awful lot about him."

Rolle has always been an outspoken member of the team, and he said his new title will not change that.

"Just keep doing what you've been doing," he said. "If they named me captain particularly for doing what I have been doing, why change it?"

In many ways, Rolle has been a captain without the proper designation for a few years. Tuck has held the official title since the departure of Antonio Pierce, but he's been a quiet leader. Rolle has a louder, more in-your-face style to his leadership, and his voice often has been heard above Tuck's.

"I've always looked at him, even though he did not have the patch, as somewhat of a captain or the lead person within the defense," coordinator Perry Fewell said. "Him being elected captain by his peers just confirmed that."

Rolle said he was not surprised to be elected captain, but he was humbled by the election by the Giants' 53 players.

"Obviously something is going right," he said. "They see a lot in me. I see a lot in myself. Just continue to go out there and do what I've been doing."

Rolle was a captain in high school and at the University of Miami. "This is my first privilege to be captain on the NFL level and I'm going to take full responsibility," he said. "I know what values it holds."

Most of all, he said, he wants to continue playing at a high level.

"You can say what you want and you can lead however you want, but what determines it more than anything is how you go out there and play between those white lines," Rolle said. "I think we all know that, so that's my primary focus before anything. Going out there and being accountable. Going out there and doing my thing."

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