David Diehl has been heading into the Giants facility nearly every day for the last six weeks, rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery he had on his right knee at the conclusion of the 2012 season. He knows that one of these days he could get a tap on the shoulder during a workout, a call to the front office to talk about a pay reduction or maybe even his release.
That conversation has already taken place with veterans Michael Boley, Chris Canty and Ahmad Bradshaw, all of them released by the team this offseason. But so far, Diehl told Newsday, he has not heard anything about his own future.
"The thing you realize at an early age is that as an NFL player you have an expiration date on you and it comes with a price tag," the offensive lineman said Tuesday. "That's the way that it always goes. Nothing has been said to me yet, but that's all things you can't control. The only things you can control are the way you prepare each and every day, getting myself healthy, and whenever that comes about we'll deal with it. But as of now, nothing has been said."
Diehl, who will turn 33 in September and is preparing for his 11th NFL season, is due to earn a base salary of $4.475 million in 2013. It is the last year of his contract with the Giants. If the team signs free agents-to-be Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe and thinks that James Brewer is ready to take over at right tackle, there may not be room in the starting lineup for Diehl. And therefore, there may not be room on the roster for him and his salary.
Diehl is one of several other high-priced veterans who could be asked to take a pay cut or be released. Others include Antrel Rolle and Corey Webster. "Am I shocked or surprised? No," Diehl said of the turnover that has already taken place. "This has happened year in and year out since I've been in the NFL, not only with our team but with teams across the league. This is something that always happens."
Diehl, who spoke on behalf of Clear Gear, a disinfectant spray that helps reduce the risk of MRSA and Staph in locker rooms and on equipment, said his rehab is going well after the surgery, which was performed by Dr. James Andrews. Diehl missed three games early in the 2012 season and came off the bench for four others, but he finished the season as the team's starting right tackle after Sean Locklear was put on injured reserve with a knee injury.
"Getting my knee right was the number one thing I wanted to do in the offseason, getting it fixed and healed up," Diehl said. "Now, like I said, it's getting myself back to 100 percent. I know that I'm capable of a lot, I know that I'm still able to play this game to a high level now that I'm going to be healthy and doing everything I can to do that. I'm excited about this upcoming year, to play and get back out there."
Where there is, though, he's not sure.
"Let the chips go where they may," he said about his future with the Giants as well as his future position if he remains with the team. "Who knows how it's all going to work out? . . . Obviously William is still a free agent, and so is Kevin Boothe. We'd love to have both of those guys back in the offensive line room, but this is the NFL. We know that each and every year there is change, there are different things that happen. That's yet to be seen."