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Giants sign former Falcons LB Boley to five-year deal

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants bolstered their defense Saturday, signing former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Michael Boley to a five-year, $25 million contract.

The 26-year-old Boley is excellent in pass coverage and he is expected to be given a shot at winning the weakside job. He played the strongside for Atlanta.

"With Michael Boley, we've addressed a position of need," coach Tom Coughlin said. "We feel we have brought to the New York Giants an athletic, versatile linebacker. He's a guy that has not been used a lot in blitzing or pressure, because they've used him in coverage. He can cover, but we think we can take advantage of his speed. He is fast and athletic."

The change of scenery also should be good for Boley. His career seemed to be on the rise in 2007 when he made 125 tackles with the Falcons. However, his role declined when Mike Smith took over as coach last season and put in a less aggressive defense. Boley eventually lost his job late in the season.

"I'm excited," Boley said. "It's a new beginning. This is a great team and a great organization. I'm looking forward to getting started here."

Chase Blackburn, Gerris Wilkinson and rookie Bryan Kehl handled the weakside job for the Giants last season. It was the only position on either offense or defense that the team used three different starters.

"Michael is a three-down player who is durable and athletic," general manager Jerry Reese said. "He is a fast playmaker who can play both SAM (strongside) and WIL (weakside). Michael will immediately upgrade our speed on defense."

Boley is looking forward to playing a new position.

"It's a different feel," he said. "I did a lot of blitzing in college. In Atlanta, I played the WIL in our sub package. I think it's going to be great for me. If the coaches want me to blitz, I'll blitz. If they want me to cover, I'll cover. Doing all those different things is going to be great."

A fifth-round draft choice of the Falcons in 2005, Boley started 53 of 64 games with the Falcons. He had 365 tackles (260 solo), six sacks, five interceptions, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 28 passes defended.

Boley started 12 regular season games and the Falcons' NFC Wild Card Game at Arizona. He posted 90 tackles (65 solo) and added an interception.

The Alabama native also is looking forward to moving to the New York metropolitan area.

"It's really going to be different," Boley said. "I've never lived up north before. It's going to take some adjusting to get used to. I came up here once some years ago; my mom is a nurse and she was up here working for a couple of months. That's the only time I've been to New York. I liked it, going to see the sights and the different things in the city."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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