Slowly but surely, Robert Ayers is becoming more comfortable with being a member of the New York Giants.
Ayers, the Jersey City native who spent his freshman year as a member of the Hoboken High School football team before moving to South Carolina, signed with the Giants as a free agent in the offseason, after spending the first four years of his NFL career with the Denver Broncos.
“It’s good to play for an organization like the Giants that do everything first class,” Ayers said last week as the Giants opened training camp for the upcoming season. “Growing up, a lot of my family and friends were Giants fans, so I was introduced to the Giants at a young age. My dad (Robert Ayers, Sr.) always told me a story that he played football with someone who played with Lawrence Taylor. I grew up watching players like Jesse Armstead and Michael Strahan. They were some of my favorites.”
Although he’s now a defensive end, Ayers said that he had other aspirations when he first started playing in Jersey City.
“Growing up, I wanted to be a wide receiver, so I could score touchdowns and do touchdown dances,” Ayers laughed. “I wanted to be the one who made the big plays. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an offensive player.”
Ayers said that he was a receiver during his year at Hoboken.
“But we ran the [Delaware] Wing-T, so there weren’t many chances to catch the ball,” Ayers said. “It was after I moved to South Carolina did I realize that my future was in defense.”
Ayers said that he has been back to Jersey City to see family members since he signed with the Giants.
“I’ve been back to Jersey City a few times to see my grandmother, some aunts and some cousins,” Ayers said. “I’ve also gone to Hoboken to chill with some of my teammates. It’s always good to be close to where I grew up. It’s good to have people I can lean on if I need them or to put a smile on my face. I’ve always been able to do that. It’s a good thing for me.”
Ayers said that he plans on playing a lot with the Giants.
“I can help this team in a lot of ways,” Ayers said. “I can play the run. I can rush the passer. The sky’s the limit for me here. When I signed here, I realized my role. I’m fitting in, but I think I can fit in anywhere. I’m trying to learn the new teammates and their personalities. It’s all been good.”
And it’s been good to have a familiar face like Ayers back home in New Jersey with the Giants…
St. Peter’s Prep didn’t waste much time in replacing Scott Decker as head basketball coach.
Alex Mirabel, the former Dickinson standout who played at New Jersey City University and later joined Decker’s staff as an assistant, was elevated to the position of head coach last week by athletic director Rich Hansen….
Bobby Morgan, who spent the last few years as an assistant coach at Marist, has taken the position of being the head girls’ basketball coach at North 13th Street Tech in Newark. This is the first head coaching position for Morgan, who was a standout player during his heyday at the now defunct St. Aloysius in Jersey City. Morgan is a great student of the game who will do a sensational job at North 13th Street, where former Seton Hall University standout Marcus Toney-El is the head boys’ coach…
North Bergen native Julian Rodriguez won his latest professional boxing match, knocking out his opponent in just 43 seconds to improve his pro record to 5-0. Rodriguez, who has the appropriate nickname of “Hammer Hands,” won this fight at Madison Square Garden…
Bayonne’s Bill Zasowski, who spent the last eight years as the associate head men’s basketball coach at Rutgers-Newark, has taken on the challenge of being the head women’s coach at R-N, replacing Kevin Morris, who is on medical leave. Zasowski will hold the coaching duties at R-N on an interim basis…
The Formula One Grand Prix race that was supposed to weave its way through the streets of Weehawken and West New York this year then was postponed until 2015, has now been pushed back to 2016 at the earliest. Supposedly the interest from the promoters is still there, but the longer this drags on, the more unlikely it is to have the auto race come to our local streets anytime soon…
Hoboken standout offensive lineman Daniel Clifford, ranked among the top 50 prospects in the state, has offers from Buffalo, Iowa State, East Carolina and the University of Connecticut…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.