By Paul Dottino
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Almost, yes, almost. Those of us in the press room almost had a calm and routine day at Giants camp on Monday. Then the rumor mill went into action again.
Free agent receiver Steve Smith, who was scheduled to visit the Giants on Tuesday, was in the building. Or was he?
The conflicting reports continued for more than three hours before this reporter finally was able to get a first-hand, eyewitness account of someone who had seen him at the Timex Center. As it turned out, Smith arrived late Monday afternoon to visit with the team's administration and was expected to stay over before checking in with the team's medical staff, who will review his surgically-repaired knee.
Coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning have said within the past week that it was their understanding that Smith would not be ready to practice if he were to re-sign this week. Other players have said Smith is expected to miss at least the first month of the season. It is unknown if Smith and his agent intend to open contract talks with the Giants this week, although it's clear the player and the team are hoping for a reunion.
Second-round defensive tackle Marvin Austin is hoping for a reunion with the Carolina fans when the preseason opens on the road Saturday. He played for the Tar Heels before losing a season for disciplinary reasons, so he's very eager to play against the Panthers. But he missed his second consecutive practice because of a hip flexor and Coughlin is going to need him to take snaps on Wednesday and Thursday before allowing him to play.
Notes: Rookie tackle James Brewer left practice with a lower leg injury. … Osi Umenyiora returned to working on the stationary bike. Meanwhile, co-owner John Mara told the Star-Ledger he's confident the lineman's contract dispute will be settled soon and he will play for the Giants this season … The practice scheduled has been altered – with the team moving up the start time from 6 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. They may keep the new time following the Carolina game. The players are off Tuesday and will use Friday as a travel day. … A group of NFL officials visited camp to review rules changes – the most significant involved alterations involved player safety (hits to the head and/or defenseless players) and the use of an instant video review from the booth following all scoring plays.
For updates from camp, follow @GiantsWFAN on Twitter.
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