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Kyle Rudolph went from PUP to top dog at tight end for Giants right now

Giants tight end Kyle Rudolph, left, steps away

Giants tight end Kyle Rudolph, left, steps away from a microphone after facing reporters following a joint practice with the New England Patriots on Aug. 25, 2021. Credit: AP/Steven Senne

Kyle Rudolph spent most of the summer as the injured tight end. On Monday, he was the only available one on the practice field for the Giants.

That may change by Sunday. Joe Judge has noted that Evan Engram (calf) is progressing nicely and Kaden Smith, who was on the sideline Monday, was held out to manage his work load rather than because of an injury. The Giants also have three tight ends on their practice squad who could get called up, including newcomer Ryan Izzo who started 16 games over the past two seasons for the Patriots.

But Rudolph being the lone option on Monday reinforced just how necessary he will be, not only for this year’s team, but for this week’s game.

"I feel great and I’m extremely excited," Rudolph said. "I tell people all the time, the hardest part of our game is when you’re injured and you can’t be on the field. That’s what I dealt with for eight months since December and it was just really exciting for me the last couple of weeks being back out there."

Rudolph signed with the Giants in the spring and immediately underwent surgery on his foot to fix an injury that began bothering him last season when he played for the Vikings. He began training camp on PUP and only came off it two weeks ago.

Ideally he would have been phased into the offense after such a long downtime, but that may not be something the Giants can afford to do.

"Whatever’s needed from me, I’m ready to go," Rudolph said. "Whether it’s 25, 50, 75 [plays], who knows with overtime, we could get into the 80s or 90s, I’m just going to keep going until they take me out … I’ve certainly had enough time to get healthy. So here we are."

Notes & quotes: The Giants and Broncos — as well as the Jets and Panthers in Carolina — will wear specially designed NYPD, FDNY and Port Authority Police Department hats at their opening day games on Sunday as part of the NFL’s acknowledgment to the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 atacks. League-wide, players will have 9/11 ribbon decals on their helmets while coaches and team personnel wear 9/11 lapel pins … The Giants’ unofficial depth chart, released on Tuesday, lists veteran Nate Solder starting at right tackle ahead of Matt Peart. The two split reps for most of the summer with Solder working mostly with the starters for the past several practices. The Giants terminated the contract of WR C.J. Board from the active roster and signed him to the practice squad. They also added OT Korey Cunningham as a veteran practice squad signing

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