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Tyree Unable To Catch a Break:


The hero of the New York Giants’ Super Bowl XLII victory is sidelined, this time by a sore hamstring that kept him out of this week’s minicamp. It doesn’t appear serious, and Tyree insists he’ll be in Albany, N.Y., for the start of training camp, but it’s just another setback for a guy who deserves better.

A year ago, Tyree underwent offseason knee surgery, then suffered a hamstring injury to his other leg that slowed his rehabilitation, ended his season and turned Tyree into a spectator as the Giants tried to sort out wide receivers in the wake of the Plaxico Burress mess.

Now with Burress’ release, they’re trying to sort out wide receivers again, and you figure Tyree would be in there as part of the process. Except he isn’t. Not now at least. He’s back in the locker room, which is the good news. But the bad news is that he can’t get out of there, staying in the trainer’s room while guys like Mario Manningham and Derek Hagan try to gain inside positions on one of the last receiver openings. I’d mention Sinorice Moss, too, except he’s also sidelined by a bad hamstring.

“It’s frustrating,” Tyree said, “especially with this coming during two-a-days.”

I’ll tell you what’s frustrating: Not having David Tyree in the mix. You know what he can do, only he can’t do it because his legs won’t cooperate. The last time we saw this guy on the playing field he made one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history: an improbable, leaping, acrobatic reception that launched the Giants to a Super Bowl victory and Tyree to fame.

Only look what has happened to him since: Nothing. He wants to be involved, and the Giants need to have him involved, but his body won’t let him. So Tyree waits his chance — just as he waited in Super Bowl XLII — and hopes his legs cooperate. In the meantime, the Giants practice, receivers make impressions and Tyree lags behind.

“There are opportunities for wide receivers,” he said. “But I’m not going to make the situation difficult [by reinjuring myself]. It’s frustrating.

“One thing that’s important to me is living in the present; I don’t live in the past. So I want to seize the moment. This is it, and I’m prepared for it. In my mind, I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity and capitalizing on it.”

That doesn’t just mean at wide receiver. Tyree made his reputation as a special-teams standout, named the NFC special teams player at the 2005 Pro Bowl and chosen as the special teams alternate the year before. He always took turns at backup wide receiver but never made much of an impact until the Super Bowl … and then it seemed he might be ready for takeoff.

And he might be. But first things first, and getting well is what comes first. Then, perhaps, Tyree makes a push for one of the spots opened by the departures of Burress and Amani Toomer. You figure that holdovers Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon are locks, as well as rookies Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden. That leaves two positions for a lot of people, and while Tyree plans on filling one of them, he must first make it to the field.

“We watch a lot of film of last year,” he said, “and it hurts when I don’t get a chance to see myself. It seems like something is missing. I feel like I let the team down last year.”

He didn’t let anyone down. His body let him down. Now it’s acting up again, and here’s hoping this isn’t anything serious. Tyree insists it isn’t, and the Giants don’t seem overly concerned. All I know is that based on what I saw of David Tyree the last time he played, I want to see more of the guy. I think the Giants would, too.

“You want to be able to compete,” Tyree said, “and this is such a good opportunity. I want to be on the field, but I can’t — and that’s what makes this extremely frustrating. It’s tough. But I’m hopeful.”

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