Xavier McKinney prepared to take charge in Giants’ secondary

New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney is ready to make amends this year.

After missing the second half of the 2022 season with broken bones in his hand sustained in an off-the-field accident during the Giants’ bye week, the fourth-year former Alabama star is preparing to move on.

When asked if he was ready to take on a leadership role this year with Julian Love now in Seattle, he didn’t hesitate to remind everyone of his confidence.

“No, I’ve been a leader,” he said.

Love was the Giants’ leading tackler last season but was one of the few in-house free agents the Giants chose not re-sign.

Instead, Big Blue will try their luck with free agent Bobby McCain and the largely unproven Jason Pinnock across from McKinney.

“It’s going to be a hell of a competition,” McKinney said of the safety roles.

“Overall, we are all competing at the end of the day. All of those guys are super competitive and super talented. All of them have got unique skillsets. It’s just going to make all of us better at the end of the day and that’s going to make our room better ultimately. I’m glad that we are all in the same room because I think we’ve got a hell of a safety room.”

Also in the room are Dane Belton, who is healthy and rookie Gevarrius Owens.

McKinney is one of few Giants’ home grown high draft picks that has not been offered a contract extension. The former 2020 second round selection is entering his contract year and he’s still waiting. Perhaps the off-field injury is a sticking point for management.

“I am just going to continue to be me,” McKinney said in response to a possible contract extension. “I think that’s what has got me this far. I’m never going to change. I’m always going to be who I am, and I think my teammates appreciate that, I think the staff appreciates that. I am not going to try to do anything extra. I know who I am.”

So do the Giants, but they might need a little reminding.

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