It’s been a whirlwind five months for Robert Ayers.
Ayers, the Jersey City native who played high school football for one year at Hoboken, played in the Super Bowl in MetLife Stadium in February for the losing Denver Broncos.
Ayers, the sixth-year NFL defensive end out of Tennessee, then went into free agency and ended up signing with the hometown New York Giants.
“I really didn’t have a preference,” Ayers said Wednesday at the Giants’ mini-camp. “It’s just where the ball landed. I didn’t have too many expectations about free agency. I had a good opportunity to come here and it was just a way of coming home.”
Ayers has been issued uniform No. 91, the same number worn by former Giants All-Pro standout Justin Tuck, now with the Oakland Raiders.
“It’s my number,” Ayers said. “It’s always been my number. I didn’t think much about that [being Tuck’s former number].”
Ayers said that he is getting used to being a member of the Giants.
“It is home,” Ayers said. “I’m part of this team now and proud of it. I’m learning how to do things their way. I’m adjusting well. The guys on this team have accepted me well. I’m finding my way. It’s getting better every day.”
Ayers had six sacks in limited action with the Broncos last year, but expects to play more with the Giants.
“I will make an impact here,” Ayers said. “That’s what I expect. I feel like I can be an every down player, but in reality, no one plays every down anymore. But I know I’m going to play a lot.”
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin likes what he’s seen in the team’s workouts and minicamp from Ayers.
“Throughout the course of our work on the field, he’s stood out from time to time and he’s a solid player who will contribute. I know he’s happy being here. He’s going to be a solid player for us.”
When the Broncos were here for the Super Bowl, Ayers returned to Jersey City, in particular Sacred Heart School, where he attended as a youngster before moving to South Carolina as a teenager.
He has yet to see any family or friends since he signed with the Giants.
“There will be a time for that later on,” Ayers said. “Right now, I’m working on getting my family here from Colorado. I’ll see my family here soon enough.”
However, it’s good to have a hometown boy playing for the hometown team…
Prayers are needed for two good guys who are battling health issues.
Hudson County Sports Hall of Famer and Jersey City basketball legend Mike Rooney, the former athletic director at County Prep, was recently hospitalized after an apparent heart attack. Rooney was a superstar during his days at Snyder and went on to have great college seasons at both St. Bonaventure and later the University of Oklahoma.
Rooney is a classic character in the truest sense and he needs to get back to health so he can continue to tell his funny stories and hilarious antics. He’s truly one of a kind.
And long-time North Bergen soccer coach John Belluardo is battling his way back to health after a recent fall where he landed on his face and needed several surgeries to repair the damage. Belluardo is as tough as nails and wants to recover in time to be back on the sidelines with the Bruins in the fall…
The Weehawken Volunteer First Aid Squad Benefit Golf Tournament will be held at Wild Turkey Golf Club in Hardyston on Thursday, Aug. 7. Shotgun start is slated for 1 p.m. There will also be dinner, awards and prizes after golf. For more information, contact Numargo Vasquez at (201) 773-7614 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Golfers who register online at HTTP://golf.wvfas.org and receive a one-year subscription to Golf
Digest Magazine in the process…
Now that the high school season is officially over, the popular summer feature EXTRA INNINGS will return next week.
EXTRA INNINGS focuses on the best stories that come from local baseball and softball leagues throughout the area, from Little League action through travel leagues.
If you have any noteworthy information to contribute to the EXTRA INNINGS, feel free to contact Jim Hague by phone at (201) 303-5792, by general mail at 1400 Washington St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, or via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com.
The e-mail would be the best way of getting in touch.
Please include a telephone contact name and number, in order to secure further information for a possible story. Also, if you have a picture to be used with the story, that would be a great help….--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.