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Football can often turn players into “frenemies”

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Read about that and more in today’s ‘Valentine’s Views’

NFL: New York Giants at Denver Broncos
Jon Halapio
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Hopefully you are enjoying yourself on this beautiful June Sunday. We know, though, that you need your New York Giants fix. Well, it's Valentine's Views to the rescue.

Friends? Or ‘frenemies’?

The Giants official website recently detailed what will turn out to be a complicated friendship between Giants’ offensive linemen Jon Halapio and Brett Jones.

A year ago, Halapio was just a guy on a reserve/futures contract trying to find any way possible to stick with the team. A guard by trade, he learned to play center to help his odds. His teacher Jones? Now, the two buddies are competing for the starting center job.

“I tell everybody this – Brett Jones is my best friend,” Halapio (pronounced hah-LAH-pee-o) said. “And when I got here in 2016 as a practice squad player, I was at guard and Brett is the reason why I am here. He taught me how to play center. He taught me snapping and stepping – just different things about being the center. So he’s the one that’s helped me tremendously from when I first got here to switch over to center. I give a big credit out to him, and yeah, we’re just both competing right now, man, and I think competition brings out the best in both of us.”

The Giants have another much more publicized competition going on between two young players. That, of course is the competition between Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta to be the backup, and perhaps ultimately, heir apparent to Eli Manning.

The two young quarterbacks might want the same job, but that won’t stop them from developing a friendship.

“I’ver hung out with a couple of the guys outside of football,” Lauletta said. “We’re starting to build those relationships and we’re just going to continue to help each other.”

Lauletta told me last week that he, Webb and fourth quarterback Alex Tanney have played some golf together.

“We’ve (Lauletta, Tanney and Webb) golfed a couple times,” Lauletta said. “We have a lot of fun.”

NOTE: Lauletta said Manning also plays but wasn’t available to join them.

This is one of the strange, and wonderful in its own way, dynamics of sports. You work right next to guys every day who either want to take the job you have, or are fighting to earn the same one you hope to achieve. You often become friends. You help each other.

In the end, though, only one of you is going to be happy.

Michael Thomas gets voice on kickoff changes

Safety Michael Thomas is one of those players who has been involved in anthem protests. Yet, Thomas was the only active player the league invited to participate in its discussions on how to make the kickoff a safer play.

“It was great because it was like, ‘If we play the game, why don’t we have a voice? Why don’t we have representation,’ ” Thomas told a horde of media last Tuesday. “For them to not only welcome me there but actually have my words have weight and they actually listened to me – they were like, ‘Please, Mike, speak up, this helps us’ – that’s encouraging.”

The kickoff rule has been changed to eliminate wedge blocking and the 5-yard running start the coverage team used to get.

“I got to contribute on creating some of those rules,” said Thomas. “I think there’s a whole bunch of things we can change to make this game safer. We don’t have to start with kickoff. But if that’s the way we’re going to do it, I think the play got a little safer.”

Thomas hopes the changes will keep the kickoff in the game. He believes the new rules could lead to some big plays.

“I think guys are going to be able to make plays. I know some people think, oh, it’s going to make more returns, but that keeps the play exciting,” Thomas said. “Guys are going to get a chance to make plays. There’s going to be some big plays on kickoff, there’s going to be some big plays on kickoff return.

“I think there is going to be way more opportunities for kick returns. Guys are going to be taking way more chances to bring the ball out,” Thomas said. “With the guys not having that 5-yard running start they think they’re going to be able to take it out. But as a coverage guy I think not having that wedge back there just made it a whole lot easier for me to make tackles.”

A word about blunders

On Friday I had Dan post something about biggest blunders in Giants history. Perhaps we didn't explain well enough, but some folks missed the point. We were asking about on-field, in-game blunders. Coaching hires and draft picks weren't part of the equation. We will, though, open that discussion at some point.