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Rolle to Grant: "I owe you"

New York Giants free safety Antrel Rolle celebrates

New York Giants free safety Antrel Rolle celebrates after stopping Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones for a loss of two yards in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Jan. 1, 2012) Credit: MCT

Antrel Rolle spoke glowingly about Tom Coughlin today and how he has come around and changed the way he views his coaching style.

But he also spoke about how he’s changed his own playing style.

It was soul-bearing day for Rolle.

While his mom and other friends were the ones who talked to him about his relationship with the head coach, it was veteran safety Deon Grant who spoke with Rolle just a few weeks ago about his play.

“Throughout the course of this season I saw something in this team so special,” Rolle said. “I’ve seen it all year long, even last year. At times maybe I didn’t see that chemistry, I didn’t see that fight, I was trying to do so much to try to bring everyone together and find that chemistry. In the midst of that I think it took away from my game a little bit.

“Deon sat me down and we had a long conversation. He was like ‘Bro, I understand what you’re trying to do, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but be you. Let your play do the talking for you’ … Honestly I think that’s the best advice I could have ever gotten from any player. I felt like I was myself yesterday (against the Cowboys). I felt like I was myself last week against the Jets. I told him ‘I owe you.” And I do.”

Rolle said he’s had other conversations with other players – he referenced a heart-to-heart he had in the trainer’s room with Chris Canty last week – but it was the talk with Grant that really got Rolle to relax and, as he said, be himself on the field. The result was plays like the interception on Sunday when he baited Tony Romo into throwing to Jason Witten and then stepped in front of the pass.

“I was trying to do too much, trying to get everyone lined up, trying to call out routes in the middle of the play, just trying to do too much,” Rolle said. “This team got it. I was only doing it because I saw something special. I still see something special.”

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