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LI's Rich Ohrnberger happy for Giants tryout

New England Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger jokes

New England Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger jokes with teammate Dan Koppen, right, during training camp in Foxborough, Mass. (Aug. 4, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

Rich Ohrnberger was watching Super Bowl XLVI and rooting for the Patriots. Why not? He was a member of that team, even if he did spend the entire season on injured reserve.

This weekend, though, the offensive lineman who played at East Meadow High School and was one of the most decorated linemen ever to play football on Long Island, is suiting up for the Giants, the team his Patriots lost to in that big game just a few months ago.

"I guess if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," he said. "I'm happy to be on the winning side now."

Ohrnberger is one of 58 players at the Giants' rookie minicamp. He's not a rookie, though, having played two seasons for the Patriots before spending last year on IR. He's one of the veteran tryouts who is hoping to make an impression and get signed with the team.

"I'm excited for the opportunity and obviously happy it's close to home," he said. "It's a great thing."

Ohrnberger said he didn't watch much football growing up in East Meadow. He was a lacrosse player and figured he would play that sport in college. But the 6-2, 300-pounder wound up at Penn State as an offensive lineman and was drafted by the Patriots.

Having NFL experience certainly helps him stand out in a rookie camp.

"I think you're more prepared for a pro style offense so the transition is a little easier," he said. "It's a lot of the same verbiage. A lot of things to learn, though. I'm learning. I'm trying."

His season ended last year against the Giants when he suffered a concussion in the fourth preseason game. It was his first and only in the NFL, he said, and it wasn't serious, but at the start of the season the Patriots needed numbers on their 53-man roster so he was shelved.

Ohrnberger found out he'd be here at the minicamp earlier this week and told some close friends and family. Then, on Thursday, on his way to check in, he Tweeted that he was trying out with the Giants. That announcement was met with enthusiasm by many of his friends and neighbors and Twitter followers.

Well, most Twitter followers.

"Anybody who was a Patriots fan, they're not happy," he said. "Especially since the Super Bowl."

He said he'll play guard or center but he can also move to tackle or do whatever the Giants need him to do.

"I'm just happy for the opportunity," he said, "and assuming things go well here and they pick me up, I'm excited to do what I can for the organization."

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