The last time Antrel Rolle was released, he signed with the Giants within a day. That was in 2010, when the Cardinals did not have the salary- cap space to keep him and the Giants swooped in quickly for the Pro Bowl safety.
Now that the 33-year-old again has been released — this time by the Bears on Sunday night — there are some who believe the Giants should grab him again.
Rolle sounds as if he would like that.
“New York is where my heart is, man,” Rolle said on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio on Monday morning. “I think everyone knows that. I’ve never hidden it. New York is where the heart is. New York is where I feel comfortable. New York is a place where I would love to play. You know, there’s a difference playing for an organization, you know, you’re there to play and to win, and you’re there because that’s where your contract is. And there’s a difference in playing where your heart is. I would absolutely be open to the situation if it presents itself.
“Obviously, it would have to make sense for both [sides]. The New York Giants, I think it would definitely make sense for both myself and the team. But let’s see what happens.”
Rolle played five seasons for the Giants without missing a game, but they did not re-sign him last offseason. He signed a three-year deal with the Bears, played in only seven games because of injuries and was released.
The Giants, meanwhile, never were able to replace Rolle on the field or in the locker room. They lacked a defensive leader and struggled at the position after injuries sidelined many of the prospective young replacements the Giants had lined up.
The Giants still have not found a clear starter at free safety, which has always been Rolle’s best position and where he rarely was asked to play for the Giants (they used him more in the box in a strong safety role). They have second-year safety Landon Collins as a budding star but still are in search of his partner. Nat Berhe, Mykkele Thompson, Cooper Taylor, Bennett Jackson and third-round pick Darian Thompson out of Boise State all are expected to vie for the job this summer.
Rolle has a close relationship with safeties coach Dave Merritt but never has played under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Rolle did make it clear he would like to continue to play and thinks he can do so at a high level.
“My first and primary mission will always be to play ball,” he said. “When I go to any organization, it is to be a hell of a player, to be an All-Pro player, to be a Pro Bowl player, to help my team win games first and foremost. The added bonus is my veteran leadership, how I can help guys come along, how I can help put guys in position and brainstorm even with the coaches. So all of those are assets that I can definitely bring to any organization.”
Assets that the Giants have been lacking since Rolle left.