It wasn't just the Giants who spent the last week drumming their fingers waiting for their first-round pick to sign, or the team's fans who were getting anxious on Twitter. With each drafted player who inked his contract with another team, Prince Amukamara's father, Romanus, would call.
"My parents are very concerned parents and they kept asking," the cornerback said Friday. "My dad was saying 'these guys are signed' and 'these guys are signed.' I kept telling him: 'Daddy, don't worry, everything is going to work out.' "
He was right . . . eventually. Although he was the last first-round pick in the league to do so, Amukamara agreed to terms with the Giants late Thursday night on a four-year deal worth about $8.1 million. He flew to New Jersey from Nebraska on Friday morning, signed his contract, made the rounds in team meetings and was on the field for the evening practice about 12 hours after his flight left Lincoln.
The Giants were thrilled to find Amukamara available when they made the 19th pick in April's draft. Now their celebratory mood has faded and it is time to get him ready for life in the NFL. "I think you've got to give him the terminology first so that he has the understanding and there is nothing he is confused with from a verbalization standpoint," coach Tom Coughlin said of the transition. "Then you have to just throw it at him."
Amukamara missed about a week of training camp work, and without the benefit of minicamps or OTAs this offseason, he's basically a foreigner in a strange land at Timex Performance Center in East Rutherford. Used sparingly in drills at practice, he had to be pointed to the right spot on several occasions, including when the team was stretching. He seemed to be confused most about where to be on special teams.
"I was trying to follow a veteran but they keep moving all over the place," he said. "I'm just trying to get caught up with the tempo."
Amukamara said he isn't worried that he will, though. But he did admit that there was a time, after a few days of negotiations, when he was starting to get worried about getting to work "just because this is my first rodeo." He may have been reassuring to his father, but inside, Amukamara wanted to be on the field and with his new team.
Now he is. And the race against the clock to get him ready for an NFL opener in a little more than a month begins.
Notes & quotes:TE Kevin Boss signed a four-year, $16-million contract to play for the Raiders, leaving the Giants a bit shorthanded at the position. They have blocking tight ends and receiving tight ends, but they might need to acquire a player who can do both . . . The Giants waived injured CB Bruce Johnson, who will have surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon. He was replaced by rookie CB Darnell Burks . . . Mathias Kiwanuka lined up at strong-side linebacker for the second straight practice and Coughlin said he likely will remain there in base packages whether Osi Umenyiora plays this season or not . . . RB Brandon Jacobs said he welcomes a larger role in the offense even though he will be paid less in base salary this season. "I kind of knew that we would be in a situation that we would have to do that to help win some games," Jacobs said. "I want to win. It's not about the money and everything else." . . . Jacobs is disappointed that close friend Plaxico Burress rebuffed the Giants to sign with the Jets. "He wanted to come back here," Jacobs said. "But no matter what happened to him over the last two years, the man still wanted to be compensated in a good way. He went where the most money was." . . . WR Devin Thomas (dislocated shoulder) and DB Cary Harris (shoulder) left practice with injuries.