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Giants' Kiwanuka puts 2010 behind him, continues move to LB

Mathias Kiwanuka's road back from a career-threatening neck injury in 2010 is filled with familiar territory for the New York Giants defender.

Kiwanuka's thrilled to be among teammates at Giants' camp as he continues the transition from defensive end to linebacker that he began last season.

"It actually was a little easier because I've been through it before," Kiwanuka told the *New York Daily News* on Thursday

The Giants were quiet in free agency, but re-signed Kiwanuka to a two-year, $8.6 million deal. The team hopes to see more of the early-season fury that propelled the five-year veteran to four sacks in his first three games.

The neck pain that ultimately landed him on injured reserve began in October, and was diagnosed as a herniated disc. It's the type of injury that can put a career in question, but Kiwanuka never lost his drive to return.

"Every day -- not just game day, every day of last season -- it went through my head," Kiwanuka said. "Well, I could have been out there or I could have played."

The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder now wears an oversized neckroll, the only clue to last year's woes, and says the shift to linebacker is coming along well.

"My role is fluid here," he said. "We'll figure it out as we go."

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