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Daniel Fells trying to revive his career with Giants

Fells, a tight end, was out of the NFL a season ago.

Daniel Fells in camp with New England last season
Daniel Fells in camp with New England last season

After five years in the NFL, Daniel Fells sat at home last season wondering if his playing career was done. He had been cut in training camp by the New England Patriots, then had a few tryouts during the season but nothing panned out.

"I thought about owning a business. My father-in-law is a business broker so he brings different business out in California to my attention that I could be successful in," Fells said on Tuesday. "He kept an eye towards things like that and at the same time, football is where my heart is."

Finally, after the 2013 season was over the 30-year-old Fells impressed the Giants enough during a tryout to be signed to reserve/futures contract. The Giants, where the tight end position remains wide open, could end up being the perfect place for Fells to resuscitate his NFL career.

"It's the way things go sometimes. I sat around my home, working out and trying to find another opportunity," Fells said. "The Giants came out and gave me an opportunity."

Fells has been taking advantage of that opportunity thus far in training camp.

Fells has been catching what has been thrown to him, including grabbing a touchdown pass from Eli Manning on Monday. He is the most accomplished of the five tight ends on the Giants' roster, having 92 career receptions in 71 games, including 30 starts.

Blocking is difficult to assess during camp, but the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Fells has a reputation as a solid blocker. In 2012, he received a +10.8 run-blocking score from Pro Football Focus while playing 338 snaps with the Patriots.

A year ago, the Giants had success with a player in a similar situation to Fells. Cornerback Trumaine McBride was out of the league in 2012 after five NFL seasons. He made the Giants roster after, like Fells, having been signed to a reserve/futures contract. He played 15 games last season, started 10, and performed well enough to earn a two-year contract from the Giants. Could Fells follow a similar path?

"I felt that I had the skill set to be in the league but things dictated differently. I was sitting at home," Fells said. "Fortunately, I had some distractions like my new baby girl who was born in November. I had certain distractions to keep my mind off the negative and start focusing on the positive. I'm out here and I'm hungry because I have a family to support. This is my passion and my love but at the same time, there's more to this than just football."

Young players Larry Donnell and Adrien Robinson might be getting more attention. Veteran Kellen Davis did play for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks last season. If he continues to play well, though, Fells could end up earning himself a job with the Giants.