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Walker Filling in at CB for the Giants


ALBANY, N.Y. — One of the best things to happen to Frank Walker may have been the New York Giants' offseason signing of fellow cornerback Sam Madison.


That might sound strange, considering Madison was signed to take over one of the starting jobs that Walker coveted. While the move pushed Walker down the depth chart, it has also helped the career backup in another way. A 10-year-veteran, Madison has become his tutor.


"We had Terrell Buckley here last year and Sam said the first thing Terrell Buckley told him after signing was: 'They have a kid named Frank Walker up there, and you have to work with him. He can play,'" Walker said.


Buckley also is a cornerback, and Madison's neighbor in the offseason in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


"He pretty much gave me a lot of the inside scoop," Madison said of Buckley. "I had a heads-up before I even got here."


Since the Giants opened training camp at the University at Albany more than two weeks ago, Madison has worked with Walker, who has all the skills to be a starter.


Walker is fast, explosive and has a very good set of hands. What he lacks are some of the finer techniques learned through experience, such as being patient and staying focused.


Walker has gambled a lot on the field in his first three seasons in an attempt to make big plays. He has five interceptions in 30 games, including eight starts. But he has also been burned a few times.


Those drawbacks are reasons Walker was a backup to Will Peterson and Will Allen in recent years. Peterson was released after last season and Allen signed with Miami as a free agent.


That opened both jobs at cornerback. Corey Webster, the second-round draft pick last year, is starting on the left side and Madison was signed and given the job on the right.


Now Walker is filling in.


"Sam told me to learn a team and take calculated chances instead of feeling like you have to make every play," Walker said. "Make the other team come to you. Sometimes when you try to make a play, you go away from the scheme. You might make a play sometimes, but there are other times where it's going to hurt the team. Sam said if I was patient, I could get seven or eight interceptions."


Walker has picked up quickly, and it's a good thing.


After tweaking his left hamstring in practice on Sunday, Madison aggravated it early in Monday morning's workout, forcing him to the sidelines.


Walker replaced him.


Madison downplayed his injury, noting he hurts his hamstring every season.


"I like to push my body," Madison said. "You never know what you are going to run into later in the season, so I love to be out there. It's just the pounding on your body. You have to deal with it. I'll be back."


In the meantime, Walker has the job and Madison will help him. That's the way it was for him in college and since he came into the NFL with Miami in 1997.


Walker looked good in practice on Monday, breaking up a couple of passes, including a sideline throw by Eli Manning.


"He is doing pretty well," receiver Amani Toomer said of Walker. "He is definitely focused this year and you can tell he has put a lot of time and effort into his game."


The one thing that hasn't changed about Walker is his demeanor. He's always smiling and yapping at anyone within earshot.


"That's his personality," Toomer said. "He is not trying to put on an image. I am sure if he wasn't here he would probably be somewhere being the same mouthy guy."


Walker agrees.


"I love the game, the game is a whole lot of fun," said Walker, who made the Giants as a free agent out of Tuskegee in 2003. "If I weren't here I would probably be back home with my old university trying to help coach in my old cleats."

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