Back to work
Giants aim to make it back to Super Bowl
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Giants don't expect the pain of losing the Super Bowl to vanish. They expect it to make them work harder to return.
"This is more of a beginning," guard Glenn Parker said Tuesday, as he and his teammates cleaned their lockers and signed commemorative Super Bowl footballs for each other. "I'm thinking about the offseason program."
About the same time, the Baltimore Ravens celebrated Sunday's 34-7 victory with a parade.
"We can build and get better," said Parker, aware that the free agency that brought him to the team this season could bring more stars -- or cost the Giants key players, including running back Tiki Barber and cornerback Jason Sehorn.
"We want Tiki back, no doubt about it," head coach Jim Fassel said. "Same with Jason."
Fassel expressed "mixed emotions" about the possible loss of defensive coordinator John Fox, who is interviewing for the head coaching job at Buffalo. Fassel hoped for continuity among his staff, but said he was glad Fox has opportunities.
Another uncertainty is his own contract. "I'd like to get it done as soon as I can," he said. Fassel probably will sign a new three- or four-year contract that will pay him as much as $3 million annually. He earned $1.1 million this season.
The Giants have some room under the salary cap, so players hope the team can retain enough talent to get back to the NFL championship.
But 16-year offensive tackle Lomas Brown said free agency will take its toll, and the team must also be prepared for a tougher schedule against opponents who will not be looking past them.
"We're marked men, now. The bullseye is on our chest," Brown said.
That target was made no smaller by Fassel, who on Monday issued another guarantee, promising that it won't take another decade before the Giants are back in the Super Bowl. His playoff guarantee on Nov. 22 ignited the Giants' run to the Super Bowl.
"We did it one time when nobody said we could do it. There's no reason that we can't. Because we should be in a better position to go back, if we keep the work ethic and everyone working together," Fassel said Tuesday.
That's fine with linebacker Mike Barrow.
"We'll follow him to the Super Bowl again," Barrow said.
Fassel met with the team for about 45 minutes, and many players then began stuffing the contents of their lockers into bags and boxes.
"He said how important it was to work even harder next year," fullback Greg Comella. "I'm humbled by what happened on Sunday. It's certainly given me a lot of motivation."
Next year begins in April, with the conditioning program, Fassel said. That's a month later than it was last year, but the team played a month longer than last season and Fassel said everyone needs a rest.
The players did not seem eager to rest too long.
"It was a dream come true that we got out there," wide receiver Joe Jurevicius said. "But we have work to do."