NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Friday, December 18, 2015, 12:42 AM
Inside their cavernous indoor practice facility, the Giants have gigantic banners listing each player for each of their four Super Bowl championship teams.
Returning defensive tackle Barry Cofield immediately searched for and found his name on the 2007 version before participating Thursday in his first practice since re-signing with Big Blue earlier this week.
The sight immediately reminded Cofield of the late-season run the Giants embarked on that December to make the playoffs before rattling off four straight postseason wins, including an upset of undefeated New England in Super Bowl XLII.
It also reminded the 10-year NFL veteran that anything is possible no matter how much he plays during the Giants’ latest playoff push that begins for him on Sunday against 13-0 Carolina.
“You really appreciate it when you step away from the game and come back to a situation like this, it’s amazing,” Cofield said. “It starts with this week. This is perfect timing to play a team like this, in my opinion. Because if you can’t beat a team like this, then you’re not going to win in the playoffs. This is the type of talented team we’re going to have to beat going forward and our playoffs start this week.
“Those are the things I’m preaching. There’s already some leadership in here and coaches that were here with me that have been through it. So I’m talking to the guys and letting them know that it’s all about Sunday. It’s just one game at a time and next thing you know you find yourself in the Super Bowl. It’s just that simple and it happens that fast.”
A career has flown by just as quickly for Cofield, who bolted New York for a six-year, $ 36 million deal from Washington before the 2011 season — missing out on the Giants’ second Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
Cofield, a solid run stopper with 19.5 career sacks, was cut by Washington for salary-cap purposes in February. He hasn’t played a snap this season after undergoing hip and groin surgery in March, but after rehabbing for months at the gym and rehab facility (named D1) he owns near his Orlando-area home, Cofield reached out to Giants defensive coaches Steve Spagnuolo and Robert Nunn a few weeks ago.
“They had a couple of injuries up front and I saw they were going to be in the thick of things, in the race, and that was one of my criteria, I wanted to go to a team that had a chance. I just don’t want to go out there and run into the wall for nothing at this point,” Cofield said. “I just wanted to let them know I was healthy…They were happy with my workout, but said the timing wasn’t right when I came in a couple of weeks ago. That time is now, and I’m excited.”
Spagnuolo stressed Cofield, 31, “still needs to knock the rust off.” But the latest Super Bowl-winner to return to the organization this season (see also: Hakeem Nicks) insists he feels “stronger than I’ve felt in a long time.”
Cofield claimed to check in at 300 pounds, around 15 pounds lighter than his usual playing weight.
“I feel great, man. Everybody once they hit year eight or nine, they should take a year off,” he joked. “It’s been almost a calendar year since I hit anybody, and it definitely shows in the way I feel. I feel like there was a Fountain of Youth, and I feel like I can play a few more years. That’s my goal.
“I wasn’t sure until I stepped on the field…but I’m fresh, I’m experienced, and playing a limited amount of snaps, I feel like I can definitely help. I feel like I can go out there and catch some people off guard and help this team. A couple of plays here and there make all the difference in winning games in the league.”