Giants guard Kevin Boothe watches the clock wind down to...

Giants guard Kevin Boothe watches the clock wind down to 0:00 and another Giants loss, 38-35. (Dec. 4, 2011) Credit: David Pokress

After a brief flirtation with the open market, Kevin Boothe is back where he said he always wanted to be -- with the Giants.

"I think you owe it to yourself to put yourself out there," Boothe said Monday. "The entire time I wanted to return to the New York Giants, and fortunately they wanted me back."

Boothe signed a one-year deal and likely will return to the left guard position at which he started all 16 games in 2012. It was the first time in his seven-year career that he started every game of a season.

"It was fun to focus in on one position for the most part," Boothe said. "I always keep prepared for any change that might happen. You don't know what might happen over the course of a game or a season. I always try to keep myself fresh with regard to center or any other position so I'm ready wherever I'm needed."

That versatility showed in September when he briefly moved to tackle during a game against the Bucs. It's part of what the Giants have always liked about Boothe.

They tendered him as a restricted free agent in 2010 and signed him to a two-year deal in 2011. Jerry Reese called the signing a "priority" at that point even though Boothe was only a backup lineman. By the time the Giants reached the Super Bowl, he had emerged as a solid starter.

"Kevin is a pro's pro and we're happy to have him back," Reese said Monday. "His return will provide experience, versatility, competition and depth on our offensive line."

It's only a one-year contract, so Boothe's future will be up in the air again next year. And it might be even more tenuous if the Giants select offensive linemen with some early draft picks next month, as many expect they will. He's not even guaranteed the starting job that it took him seven seasons to secure. None of which seems to bother him.

"I'm just happy to do whatever is needed," Boothe said. "I'm going into my seventh year here with the Giants. Whatever role they need me to be in, I'm more than happy to fill. Whether it was the first person off the bench in years past or being the starter this past year, I approach every day with 100 percent effort. Whatever I can do to help the team, that's what I'm all about."

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