Giants extend Coughlin, turn attention to rebuilding lines

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Coach Tom Coughlin signed a contract extension with the New York Giants on Wednesday, the top move amongst a flurry of activity on the second day of official business after the NFL lockout was lifted.

Coughlin, hired by the Giants in 2004, is signed through the 2012 season, and he will take a 65-47 record into the Sept. 11 season opener at Washington. His previous three-year contract was set to expire at the end of the 2011 season. But the team decided to eliminate the lame-duck status and reward the coach who led the franchise to its third Super Bowl title after the 2007 season.

Coughlin trails only Steve Owen (153) and Bill Parcells (77) on the franchise's all-time list for wins. Coughlin has guided the Giants to a Super Bowl championship, two NFC East titles and four playoff berths.

"As I was when I was hired in 2004, I am grateful for the opportunity," Coughlin said in a statement released by the team. "To be the head coach of the New York Giants is the fulfillment of a dream for somebody who grew up where I grew up and when I grew up."

Coughlin's playoff record is 4-3, and the Giants won at least 10 games in four of his first seven seasons.

"As we said after the season, we strongly believe in Tom," co-owner and team president John Mara said. "We believe in the job he has done, and we believe in his ability to lead our team in the future. Everybody was on the same page in arriving at the extension."

The Giants also announced the hiring of former New England PatriotsPro Bowl linebacker Larry Izzo as an assistant special teams coach. Izzo retired in 2009 after 14 seasons. Izzo, who won three Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots, will assist special teams coordinator Tom Quinn.

And although free-agent signings cannot be officially made until Friday, there has been activity at the team facility.

One day after announcing they will release veteran offensive linemen Shaun O'Hara, Shawn Andrews and Rich Seubert on Thursday to clear salary-cap room, the Giants came to terms with center David Baas, who spent six years in San Francisco after being drafted in the 2005 second round out of Michigan. Baas, 29, has played most of his NFL career at guard, but he started the 49ers' final eight games of the 2010 season at center.

It is believed Baas could replace O'Hara at center, but there is also a chance that the Giants bring back O'Hara and Seubert at reduced salaries. Both are recovering from offseason surgeries.

The Giants also agreed to a deal with offensive tackle Kevin Boothe on a two-year deal. That contract was confirmed in an e-mail to the Associated Press.

The Giants also are close to cutting ties with defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, after a restructured deal couldn't be ironed out. Bernard was slated to make $2.9 million this season. That comes on the heels of another defensive tackle, Barry Cofield, agreeing to a six-year deal with the Washington Redskins.

There are issues in the backfield, as well. The Giants are in negotiations with running back Brandon Jacobs, hoping to restructure his deal in order to get the team under the proposed $120.4 million salary cap.

The Giants remain in the mix for their top running back, Ahmad Bradshaw, who is a free agent and is mulling a new contract offer.

Also Wednesday, Coughlin was supposed to meet with former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress. But that meeting was postponed to Friday due to league rules.

Several Giants, including quarterback Eli Manning, defensive end Justin Tuck and Jacobs, were spotted entering the parking lot at the Giants Timex Performance Center. No players were made accessible to the media.

Training camp is expected to officially open Friday.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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