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Olivier Vernon, Wayne Gallman involved in tussle at Giants camp

Running back shoves linebacker after he slammed him to the ground on a reception.

New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman (22)

New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman (22) is restrained by linebacker Mark Herzlich (44) and cornerback Eli Apple (24) after being tackled by defensive end Olivier Vernon (not pictured) during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Monday, July 30, 2018. Photo Credit: Brad Penner

After two days of peaceful practices in full pads, the Giants had their first flare-up of training camp on Monday. In fact, they had two.

The first came after linebacker Olivier Vernon caught running back Wayne Gallman in the air while he was catching a pass and then slammed him to the ground. Vernon walked away but Gallman took exception and gave Vernon a shove. That was enough to create a scrum of players from both sides of the ball and practice halted for a few minutes. Vernon actually was not part of that melee despite starting it. Instead he stood over the ball at the line of scrimmage and waited for the next play like Mrs. O’Leary’s cow roasting marshmallows.

The second round was a smaller altercation between defensive tackle Kristjan Sokoli and tackle Jarron Jones.

Pat Shurmur said earlier in the week that he was prepared for the annual rite of training camp.

“Boys will be boys and it’s competitive, and part of what makes our players special is they embrace the contact, they look for it and they’re super competitive,” the Giants coach said. “They never want to lose. So I sort of look at fighting as you’re sort of emotionally injured for a little bit. We try to separate the guys, cool them down – sort of like walking off an ankle injury – and then when we’re sure they’re OK, we put them back in and get to work.”

BARKLEY STARRING IN SNF

Before he plays in a game, Saquon Barkley will be part of the pregame. At least on NBC. The network announced on Monday that the Giants’ rookie running back will be one of the featured players in the opening to “Sunday Night Football” with Carrie Underwood. The program will debut on Sept. 6 when NBC broadcasts the opener between the Falcons and Eagles. Barkley won’t be on the field with the Giants until their opener three days later.

Among a group of 10 players in the opening that includes a combined 19 Pro Bowls and five Super Bowl rings, Barkley is the only rookie.

The rest of the players will likely be unpopular with Giants fans as it is a very Eagles-centric list. Carson Wentz, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz and Fletcher Cox represent the defending Super Bowl champs. Also in the opening sequence will be Dak Prescott, Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins, Antonio Brown and Russell Wilson.

The Giants typically have a player as part of the pregame production, and in the past Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jason Pierre-Paul have all taken part in the process. All of them, however, had played in an actual game before being tapped for the honor.

GIANT STEPS

Safety Curtis Riley left practice early with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. He was able to walk off the field. It’s the second day in a row the Giants lost a defensive back to a hamstring. On Sunday, Donte Deayon left practice early. “He’s fine,” Shurmur said of Deayon, who did not practice on Monday. “It’ll just be a short time before he’s back out there” … Linebacker B.J. Goodson had a strong practice, making plays both up the middle and to the sideline. It was reminiscent of his play from last year’s opener in Dallas when he had 17 tackles before an injury curtailed his production the rest of the season … Cornerback Kenneth Durden, signed on Sunday, had a second active practice. On Monday, he made a diving interception in one-on-one drills and laid out to break up a pass intended for Marquis Bundy in the end zone … Running back Jalen Simmons had the hit of the day when he came up the middle and ran over linebacker Calvin Munson … A funny moment happened when Barkley caught a pass and it looked as if safety Darian Thompson refused to let go of him. In actuality, Thompson’s helmet somehow locked itself on to the back of Barkley’s shoulder pads. Thompson had to take the helmet off to disconnect from the rookie running back … Veteran running back Jonathan Stewart did not practice, essentially giving the 10-year veteran two days off. The Giants are off on Tuesday but return to training camp practice on Wednesday.

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