The Giants couldn't say enough nice things about Matt Dodge. But they also said he's fired.

The Giants brought in veteran punter Steve Weatherford to compete against Dodge in training camp, and most figured it was just a formality. Weatherford is an established pro and Dodge, well, his most infamous moment is so much a part of the 2010 season narrative that it was included in the opening video clip of Madden '12.

But the two went kick-for-kick throughout the summer before Saturday, when the Giants waived Dodge and made Weatherford their punter.

That Dodge even made it a difficult decision was a testament to how much he had improved. "That was a tough, tough decision," said Tom Coughlin, who despite his red-faced tirade against Dodge after he punted the ball to DeSean Jackson last December seemed to have a real affinity for the young player. "It was a tough call and a difficult thing to talk to Matt. He responded in a class manner and made it very easy. He came in with a smile on his face."

The Giants drafted Dodge in the seventh round last year shortly after learning that Jeff Feagles would retire. He has a very strong leg but had difficulty controlling the ball. The Giants tried to trade Dodge before waiving him.


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Giant steps

Another player who got a flowery send-off was WR Michael Clayton, a former first-round pick of the Bucs. Coughlin called him a "consummate pro'' and said: "When you have to let a guy like that go, it eats away at you." . . . Jimmy Kennedy, a Yonkers native considered a first-round bust with the Rams and a late addition in training camp, made the team over another veteran defensive lineman, Gabe Watson, who was released.