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Dearth Sees Jets-Giants as a Steppingstone

Long snapper James Dearth has seen a lot of chapters in the Jets' annual preseason series with the Giants.

Acquired in 2001, Dearth is the third-longest tenured player on the Jets roster behind Shaun Ellis and Chad Pennington. He has participated in six preseason contests and one regular-season game between Gang Green and Big Blue.

Yet what Dearth remembers most in the rivalry isn't from any game at the Meadowlands but in scrimmages that took place in 2004 and 2005 at the Giants' training camp in Albany.

"Those were nice," said Dearth. "They're probably the most memorable."

Out of the spotlight of the New York metro area, those scrimmages were useful to two teams in the same city trying to prepare for the same thing: the grind that is the NFL regular season.

As for the annual preseason game that takes place at the Meadowlands, Dearth sees it as little more than another important step in preparation for Week 1 against the Patriots.

"For me it's just another game," said Dearth. "I don't look at it as bragging rights because we're all competing in the NFL. It's just part of the NFL, it's what we do."

Perhaps Dearth's feelings towards this preseason game are affected by the constant roster turnover in a league that is becoming more and more competitive every year.

"I don't look at it as a New York thing," said Dearth.

Dearth said he had made friends with players on the Giants over the years, but "many of them are not on the team now."

The teams will play again in Week 5 of the regular season. Only eight players on the Jets and six on the Giants remain from the last time they met in regular-season action in 2003.

Dearth and Giants punter Jeff Feagles are two of these players, so it is not surprising that they have become friends. Thus he will look forward to seeing his buddy on Saturday night not as a bitterly entrenched rival but as friend who has been fortunate enough to be tenured with a team in the same city almost as long as he.

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