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Free agent Charles Dieuseul wants to make a name for himself with Giants

Giants rookie free agent linebacker Charles Dieuseul, who

Giants rookie free agent linebacker Charles Dieuseul, who played for Mount Union in college. Credit: Mount Union

It's not pronounced "Diesel" like the combustible fuel. But for a high-energy player who drove his team to a national title and is now chugging toward the NFL, maybe it should be.

"Most people call me 'Diesel' because they can't pronounce my name," said Charles Dieuseul (properly pronounced Diss-ELL), a linebacker from tiny Division III Mount Union College who will be mixing it up with the big boys on the Giants for the next few days. "I go by 'Diesel' all the time. It's grown on me. I do like it. It sticks with me."

Just as Joe Theismann famously changed the sound of his name to match the highest honor in college football, Dieuseul does not sound opposed to articulation manipulation if it will help people remember him. The undrafted free agent will need all the help he can get to stick out at this weekend's rookie minicamp in New Jersey, where for the first time in his life he'll be playing against the best.

Dieuseul dominated at the lower levels of college football. But consider the divisions where some local football programs participate: Stony Brook is in the Football Championship Subdivision and LIU Post plays at Division II. Mount Union, in Alliance, Ohio, plays below them. Division III is a step above intramurals for many colleges.

Mount Union, though, has a history of producing NFL players such as wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts III. This year four players from the team that won the national championship in the fall were signed by NFL teams, including Dieuseul. He inked his contract last night when he arrived at the Giants' complex.

"Pierre, he kind of opened the door for D-III guys and Cecil kind of kicked the door in when he got picked up in the fourth round [by the Jaguars]," Dieuseul said. "I realized you actually can make the NFL from Division III regardless of whether you play at a small school or not."

He's not there yet. He'll first have to impress the coaches enough this weekend to stick around for the summer. He doesn't have the security of a draft pick, but he'll likely get through the minicamp given that he signed a contract and is not participating as a tryout. Then he'll have to work in OTAs and training camp to make the 53-man roster.

The Giants did not draft any linebackers, so they could be looking for players at the position. And they have a history of sticking with undrafted ones. Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich were undrafted free agents who played for the Giants the last two seasons. They came from big-time college programs, though. Dieuseul doesn't have the pedigree.

So for now, the word Dieuseul said he would use to describe himself heading into rookie minicamp is not excited . . . but "curious."

"I'm curious to see how I measure up," he said. "You see these guys on TV all the time, you watch them, and now you're going to be in the mix with them, so how well can you do? Can I stack up against these guys at the NFL level? I think I can. I know I can. It's just getting the opportunity to do it."

And if someone happens to mispronounce his name, well, the most important thing will be having it spelled correctly on his contract and the back of his jersey.

No contracts for Curry, Cribbs. Free agents Aaron Curry and Josh Cribbs visited the Giants yesterday but neither left with a contract offer. Both have visits planned with other teams, and if they are still unsigned, the possibility of reconnecting with the Giants remains open.

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