Giants' Nick Gates, center, participates in practice at the NFL...

Giants' Nick Gates, center, participates in practice at the NFL football team's training camp in East Rutherford, N.J., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020.  Credit: AP/Seth Wenig

The Giants are about halfway through their preseason and one of the most important position battles in training camp is no closer to being resolved than it was when the players arrived for their first nasal swabs almost a month ago.

Nick Gates and Spencer Pulley have been splitting reps as the starting center, and Joe Judge called the competition between them “scratch even.”

One thing that could begin to tilt things is Pulley’s health. He left practice early on Monday and sat out on Tuesday, yielding valuable reps to Gates.

The Giants seem to like both players, even though Pulley is a veteran center and Gates had never played the position regularly until he began training at it this offseason.

“Nick’s a guy that when we got here, we knew he had a lot of flexibility position-wise,” Judge said. “He had to learn the center position. I think he’s definitely a guy who’s just locked in to doing anything he could to give himself a chance. He’s improved in the short amount of time we’ve been able to be together. He shows a good command out there in terms of understanding the offense, communicating the calls. He has a toughness about him that you like inside.”

And Pulley?

“Spencer brings the same qualities,” Judge said. “Spencer’s a tough dude, he’s a smart guy, he can run the show out there, he understands what we’re trying to do, he understands what the defense is trying to do, he’s a great communicator on the line of scrimmage and in the huddle. Both those guys have done a tremendous job competing.”

Spencer Pulley at Giants training camp on Aug. 17, 2020.

Spencer Pulley at Giants training camp on Aug. 17, 2020. Credit: Giants.com/Matthew Swensen

Said offensive line coach Marc Colombo: “I can’t be more happy with the competition that’s going on. I love what I am seeing from both of those guys. They both bring a lot of strong traits to the table.”

Only one of them can start against the Steelers. But for now, the race for that job remains stride for stride and may continue that way right up to roster cutdowns and the first week of prep for the regular season.

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