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Hickok signs two-year contract with Giants

 

By JAMES A. ELLIS, The Leader-Herald

 

 

 

Published on Thursday, April 12, 2007

 

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Gloversville native Marc Hickok made the journey to the University at Albany to watch the New York Giants preseason workout last summer, much like he had several times before.

 

This July, his trip to the UAlbany campus will be a little different.

 

Tuesday, Hickok signed his name to a two-year contract to kick for the Giants.

 

"The job is not mine, yet," Hickok said. "But it puts me on the roster and in position to battle for it at training camp. The two-year deal is standard for rookies. It protects me and the team."

 

The Gloversville High School and University of Connecticut graduate caught the Giants' attention earlier this month at the NFL Europe workouts in Florida.

 

"I was there as a free agent with the Rhein Fire, but they kept Connor Hughes, who is affiliated with the Pittsburgh Steelers," Hickok said. "A couple of days later, the special teams coach for the Giants contacted me and said he was surprised when he saw that I was not selected."

 

The team invited Hickok to Giants Stadium Monday for a tryout.

 

"They flew me in to kick against other candidates like Mike Vanderjagt and I had a good day," he said. "I have heard the horror stories about the winds in Giants Stadium. The flags at the top of the stadium can be going one way, but the winds on the field are totally different. I just aimed down the middle. I have been kicking in South Florida so getting off the plane and kicking in 38-degree weather was kind of a shock. They were trying different snappers so none of us could really get used to one person. That made it a little more difficult."

 

Hickok's field goal kicking ability has kept him busy since high school.

 

As the kicker for UConn from 1999-2002, Hickok scored 163 points, eighth highest in school history.

 

He connected on 82-of-86 extra points and was successful on 27-of-38 field goal attempts. In his senior year Hickok hit a school-record 47 consecutive extra points.

 

During the 2006 season, Hickok signed on to kick for the Stockton Lightning of the Arena2 Football League.

 

His plans for 2007 included kicking for the Albany Conquest, but opportunity knocked.

 

"That was a tough choice because I really like coach [Pete] Constanza," Hickok said. "My agent, Cal Robinson [of Gloversville] got me an invite to the NFL Europe combine. I talked it over with the coach and he understood that I had to give it a shot."

 

Robinson also represents lineman Josh Beekman of Amsterdam, who is expected to be selected in the early rounds of the upcoming NFL draft.

 

The exposure at the combine may not have landed Hickok a spot on the Fire's roster, but his performance drew attention of other NFL special team coaches.

 

"Honestly, I always said I would just like a chance to kick for anyone," Hickok said. "When the Giants called me, it was almost too good to be true. I have been a Giants fan since I was a kid."

 

The mini camp at Giants Stadium has proven to be an experience.

 

"I am still kind of in awe," he said. "Last year, as a fan, I was yelling at some of these guys as I watched them play on TV. Now I am running next to them in practice."

 

When the Giants open camp July 27 at UAlbany, Hickok again will be at the practice, only this time he won't be watching the kickers workout and checking their hang time on a stopwatch.

 

This time he will be wearing the No. 3 jersey for Big Blue in an attempt to be the Giants kicker when they face Dallas Sept. 9 in the televised Sunday night season opener.

 

The Giants kick off their home season Sept. 16 against Green Bay.

 

Hickok thanked his mother, Vanessa Sheppard, his stepfather, Frank Sheppard, my dad, Dan Hickok, and grandparents Ray Cromer and the late Betty Cromer.

 

"They have all supported me and helped me get this far," he said. "My grandmother was my biggest fan. I wish she could be here to see me play."

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