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Ross ready to play, has his passion back

FILE - Aaron Ross of the New York

FILE - Aaron Ross of the New York Giants returns an interception for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens last year. (November 16, 2008) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Aaron Ross sounded as if he'd be willing to take a few turns running the ball, or maybe line up at defensive tackle, as long as it meant he'd get to play Sunday.

Ross missed the first nine games of the Giants' season after reinjuring his left hamstring in late August, but he has gone through a full week of practice leading up to Sunday's game against the Falcons. He worked at safety Friday with the second-unit defense, away from his usual cornerback spot, but Tom Coughlin indicated that was merely to fill a spot.

"He's a corner,'' Coughlin said, adding that he has no plans to use Ross as a safety "at this point in time, but you never know.''

Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster still will be the starting corners and Aaron Rouse and Michael Johnson will be the starting safeties. Bruce Johnson worked as the third corner, so it appeared as if nothing has changed. But Ross certainly will cycle in, particularly in nickel and dime situations, as he primarily worked early in his rookie season of 2007.

"If somebody dresses,'' Coughlin said, "you expect them to - they have to contribute.''

It's what Ross has wanted since training camp began. He struggled through 2008, more with his losing some passion for the game rather than anything physical. He watched videotape of his '08 season last spring and didn't like what he saw.

"I didn't have a clue what it was,'' Ross said. "I just wasn't happy last year. This year, I felt like I was ready to go. Especially now that it's really time to go.''

The Giants' secondary, much like the defense as a whole, did fine for five games without Ross and safety Kenny Phillips, who went on injured reserve shortly after Ross' injury. The last four games have been a problem all around, particularly for the secondary, where even Webster's game has slipped.

"We just have to get our confidence, our swag back up,'' Ross said. "We'll find out Sunday.''

And the Giants will find out if Ross can contribute. Ross said he would play safety, special teams, wherever he could to get time on the field. "I can. I don't know if I'm going to, but I can,'' he said of playing safety. "Whatever [Coughlin] has planned for me, I'm all in.''

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