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Giants to open camp Friday at New Meadowlands Stadium

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants will open training camp Friday at their team headquarters near New Meadowlands Stadium.

The Giants made the announcement late Monday afternoon, hours after the NFL Players Association executive committee and the 32 player representatives from the league's teams recommended to players that they vote for the 10-year deal that will end the 4½-month lockout.

Earlier in the day, workers began removing roughly 6-foot-long blue slants from around the practice fields at the Giants' facility, so fans will be able to see the fields and watch practices.

The team plans to erect stands outside the fences of the practice fields for seating.

The Giants have held camp at the University at Albany since 1996. But they opted to train at home this year because of the uncertainty surrounding the labor dispute.

"After a long and strenuous process, we are extremely pleased to be able to get back to our jobs," Giants player rep Shaun O'Hara said. "The business side of the game has been exhausting for everyone, including the fans.

"It is our hope that this 10-year agreement will bring a decades' worth of labor peace and enable the game to continue to grow exponentially," the veteran center added. "The players and the owners truly negotiated this deal, both sides gave and both sides gained, and ultimately everyone will benefit from this deal."

The final step in ending the labor strife and avoiding the league's first work stoppage since 1987 was expected. As a result, the agreement increased telephone activity for the team's ticket department Monday.

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Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said most of the callers wanted to know either when they will be charged their deferred payment on season tickets, when the season tickets be mailed or when single-game tickets go on sale.

"Our football people have been busy finalizing our approach to filling out the roster and finalizing schedules," Hanlon said, "and the rest of the organization has continued to crank, just as they've done the past few months."

The Giants organization responded quickly to the agreement by changing the home page on its website with somewhat of a welcome back.

"Giants Football Is Back. Do You Like It? Thanks For Being The Best Fans In The World!"

The site also included a one minute, 18-second video which showed jerseys being taken off clothes racks, equipment and fields being readied, and playbooks, including one for quarterback Eli Manning, being put on desks. There was even an empty locker room waiting for players for fill it.

Giants chief executive and co-owner John Mara was a constant in the talks between the players and owners and he described the negotiations as long and different after the NFLPA action on Monday.

"I think at the end of the day, neither side got everything they wanted but what I think we did achieve was a fair deal ... that will stand the test of time and will be in the best interest of our league, our players, our clubs and our fans."

Giants players were quick to tweet their reactions.

"Football is back, let's go baby, #NYG to the super bowl," cornerback Terrell Thomas said.

Wide receiver Ramses Barden said he was "juiced" about the season.

Second-year linebacker Phillip Dillard said he couldn't wait to see the details of what will be the new collective bargaining agreement.

"Guess I can call krispy creme and tell them to cancel my order fri bc that would make a sluggish sat ha ha I'm jk," Dillard wrote.

Wide receiver Devin Thomas, who worked out with Manning at quarterback's passing camp at Hoboken (N.J.) High School in May, sounded excited.

"Showtime baby! Thats wut it is!" he tweeted.

The NFL released a list of unrestricted free agents with four or more years experience and there are 13 Giants on the list, including receiver Steve Smith, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, tight end Kevin Boss, defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka and defensive tackle Barry Cofield.

The other unrestricted free agents are linebacker Chase Blackburn and Keith Bulluck, wide receivers Michael Clayton and Derek Hagan, guard Kevin Boothe, safeties Deon Grant and Michael Johnson, quarterback Jim Sorgi and defensive end Dave Tollefson.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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