Dwayne Hendricks keeps his Super Bowl ring in a bank.
He always will be able to say he was a Super Bowl champion as part of the New York Giants team that beat the New England Patriots 21-17 in February.
But for now the Millville native is focused solely on trying to make the Giants' regular-season roster for this season.
"There was a time to celebrate," Hendricks said in a phone interview Thursday. "I took that time to celebrate. Now it's back to work. That's the past. In this game, you can't focus on the past."
Hendricks, a 26-year-old defensive tackle, has spent parts of the past three seasons on the Giants' practice squad - an eight-man unit that practices with the team but is not eligible to dress for games. He was called up to the active roster for about a month last season but played in just one game. He was back on the practice squad when the Giants beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Practice-squad members get rings, but Hendricks said he only brings his out of storage to show it to family and friends.
"Like I was told way back when," he said, "the honeymoon's over."
Hendricks is so focused on the present that he said he was unaware of the NFL rule that players can spend only three years on the practice squad - meaning he must make the Giants' 53-man roster to stay with the team this season.
His chances of making the team look as strong as ever, though. Hendricks had two sacks in the Giants' preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Friday. And New York is thin at defensive tackle with Shaun Rogers (blood clots) out for the season, Marvin Austin (back problems) sidelined indefinitely and Chris Canty slow to recover from knee surgery.
"There's an opportunity (for Hendricks)," coach Tom Coughlin said in a video posted on the team's website this week. "He goes a million miles an hour. I have just the utmost respect for that kid. That kid works his ever-lovin' off.
"Matter of fact, I use him as an example. You're going against him, you'd better be going full speed. He's going to make you look bad."
The 6-foot-3, 305-pounder said he still has plenty to work on, such as improving as a pass rusher rather than just stopping the run. But he said he feels more comfortable in his fourth training camp with the Giants.
"I feel a lot more myself," the 2004 Millville High School graduate said. "In previous training camps I was trying to do too much."
He has built a solid relationship with Coughlin, too. Hendricks compared the Giants' coach to Dave Heck, his former Millville High School coach. Both coaches preached paying attention to little things such as being early to meetings - not just on time - and taking hats off indoors.
"I feel like Coughlin believes in me," he said. "He sees what I can do and what I can't do, and he sees that I always want to leave an impression in his mind that I always want to work, and anytime you say, 'Dwayne Hendricks,' you think of someone that you can count on."
The Giants certainly will count on Hendricks if he makes the team. Their line was the strength of their defense during the Super Bowl run. Ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora all have made Pro Bowls.
"It's a pleasure," Hendricks said of playing alongside such talent. "It's an honor. Any time you can get a chance to learn from people and watch what they do day in and day out, you can get better."
With all the injuries at defensive tackle, Hendricks, who played college football at the University of Miami, likely will get some playing time with the first-stringers in Saturday's preseason game against the New York Jets.
If he keeps playing well, he should survive the first round of cuts Aug. 28, when rosters are trimmed from 90 players to 80. The 53-man roster must be set by Sept. 2.
Cuts are a stressful time, but Hendricks has gotten used to fighting for his job for the past three years.
"It's a part of the business, but you've got to understand what's trying to be done," he said. "Teams are trying to win, and they obviously want the best players on their roster. Sometimes it goes your way, and sometimes it doesn't."
Even if it doesn't go his way, Hendricks always will have his Super Bowl ring. But that will stay in the bank for now.
"Just take one day at a time," Hendricks said. "I can't be worried about tomorrow if I'm going to take care of today. God has his plan for me."
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