As fans await Olivier Vernon's first game as a New York Giant, his massive $85 million contract will always be the first thing that they will think of. For some players, cashing in on a big paycheck is their biggest goal. For Vernon, his motivation will always be to improve.
"At the end of the day, it is football. I don’t think football changes when you get money," Vernon said. "At least in my eyes it doesn’t. I’m just coming up here with different scenery to play football, man.
"You watch film you see what I can do. If you have something wrong about that then you can always go against me and see what happens."
Still, many are dubious about his chances to live up to such a big contract. One reporter was quick to remind Vernon about his heightened expectations. Vernon is completely aware and plans to live up to all the promise.
"I already know that," Vernon said. "I'd be a fool not to believe that. As long as I stick to my game plan, I'll be alright."
One such expectation for Vernon is to step up and become a leader on this team. However, Vernon only plans to hit the field for now and take it step by step during this training camp.
"I say we got a lot of leadership on the team right now, for the most part," Vernon said. "Right now, it is just getting the pads on. Getting the pads on and seeing what we can do, you know, by being physical and being smart."
"I feel like for me, for the most part, I'm a guy that -- I just go out there and play. You know, I'm just going to try and contribute."
The Giants spent a lot of money on the defense in general to ensure they will not be as porous as last year. Vernon is assuring fans that it will not be the case this season.
"I know as an organization, that's the last thing that we want to be known for, being the worst defense in history or last in the league," Vernon said. "So I know everybody right now is just building, working to it, to where we're not. We want to be better than we were last year and it starts right now. It starts with training camp, having a strong training camp and having it lead into the season."
One of these other defensive additions, Damon "Snacks" Harrison, has been placed on the PUP list to begin training camp. Vernon assures the media that it is not a cause for concern.
"Snacks will be alright," Vernon said. "He's a soldier. So nobody is really worried about that. He's going to be fine, he's been doing this a long time. So I think he knows how to take care of his body."
Tension is definitely in the air regarding the defense and for good reason. As long as Vernon works to reach his potential -- and his expectations -- the defense will be in better shape.