Generally Speaking

ALBANY, NY – The loud cheers at the end of August's first practice were reserved for a very special and important man – General Ray Odierno, who addressed the team after the a.m. session.

Odierno was recently named to succeed General David Petraeus as the commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq. Odierno, who previously served as Petraeus' deputy in the war, will be promoted to full general and return in September to Iraq, where he recently completed a 30-month tour.

"I'll go back and take over command of all of Iraq," Odierno said. "I'm looking forward to it. It will be a challenge, but we're making a lot of progress. I'm encouraged by what General Petraeus has done. I hope to just take on what he has done and move forward with it."

Odierno – a lifelong Giants fan from Rockaway, N.J. – shared what he said to the club.

"The only other thing that I would say to you is that I kind of thought a lot about this team, being a big Giants fan," Odierno told the players and coaches. "I'm very proud of what you all accomplished last year. About 18 months ago, when I took over as commander in Iraq, nobody gave us a chance to do well. There are still a lot of non-believers out there who don't believe that we've done a good job over there, and my guess is that there are still a lot of non-believers about this team. They don't think that you're worthy of what you've accomplished and I would just tell you to stick together, work your (butt) off, and shove it up their (butt). What makes this group so special is that you're a team first, you care about each other first, and if you do that, you will always be successful. So, good luck to you, God bless you, it has been an honor to be out here with you today."…

Opening bell: An annual rite of summer, the first fight of training camp, finally occurred during the Giants' 11th practice. Linebacker Danny Clark and left guard Rich Seubert were the participants. Other than Seubert getting his helmet ripped off, it was pretty much a non-event, as no punches actually landed.

"It's just training camp," Seubert said. "We've been here for a week. Everybody's a little grumpy, everybody's been doing the same stuff and going against the same players. It is what it is – it's football."

Seubert, perhaps the Giants' most accomplished pigskin pugilist, is usually the first one in the middle of a fracas.

"Oh, that was a shock to me," Tom Coughlin laughed.

"They say you're not officially a Giant until you fight Richie in practice," Clark said. "It was the first one in camp and it was all fun stuff. We left it out there on the football field.

"Richie has embraced me with open arms literally since I've been here. We were just having a good time, that's all."