The Giants are pleased with the five starters they've assembled on their offensive line but were concerned about their depth at the tackle spot. They wanted to add an experienced player. Well, yesterday they added Bob Whitfield, who has played in 188 games in 13 NFL seasons.
Whitfield, 33, arrives as backup insurance for left tackle Luke Petitgout, who started all 16 games last season but does have a history of lower back problems.
"Left tackles are just not easy to find at any level," GM Ernie Accorsi said. "We really didn't have a pure second left tackle. He's just a smart professional who protects us at that position. It was the last piece of the puzzle on our offensive line. We now have depth at every position."
Whitfield has started 167 games, including a team-record 123 straight for the Falcons during the first 12 years of his career. He made the Pro Bowl in 1998. Last year, he played in 10 games as a reserve for the Jaguars.
The Giants are convinced the 6-5, 310-pound Whitfield has something left in the tank and expect him to add a dose of veteran leadership.
"I'm going to come in and be part of the supporting cast," Whitfield said. "I look forward to helping young and old guys. I can watch Luke on tape and say, 'Luke, try this step.' I welcome the competition. I'm an old-school guy. Luke is the starter. I can't just come in and say I'm replacing the starter. "
*On Saturday, running back Tiki Barber will take part in an event called "Dream Builders," hosted by Brandon Steiner, CEO of Steiner Sports Marketing. Steiner will host a backyard barbeque at his Scarsdale home to raise money for two charities, Family Services of Westchester's Boys Residence in White Plains and Camp Sussex in New Jersey. In addition to Barber, others in attendance will be Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Wade Boggs and Don Mattingly. Tickets cost $500 for adults and $250 for children under 13, and all proceeds will go toward Camp Sussex and Family Services of Westchester. For tickets or for more information, call 914-307-1010.